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Trifid Bur-marigold

Bidens tripartita

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Mud, ponds, swamps, water, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, no petals
The flowers of Trifid bur-marigold are bright yellow and resemble daisies. They have a central disk surrounded by several yellow ray florets. These flowers are relatively small and appear in clusters at the ends of the plant's branches. The bright yellow color and daisy-like appearance make them visually attractive and suitable for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies.
The fruit of Trifid bur-marigold is small and elongated, often referred to as "achenes." These fruits are typically dark brown or black and have barbed seeds. The barbs on the seeds make them easily attach to clothing, fur, or other surfaces, aiding in seed dispersal as they hitch rides on animals or get carried by water to new locations.
The leaves of Trifid bur-marigold are characterized by their three-lobed or trifid shape, which gives the plant its name. They are green, serrated along the edges, and grow alternately along the stems. The leaves are typically relatively large and contribute to the plant's overall bushy appearance. These leaves are also edible when young and can be used in salads or cooked as a leafy green vegetable.
Trifid bur-marigold, also known as Bidens tripartita, does not typically have a strong or distinctive aroma. The plant is primarily valued for its appearance and ecological role rather than for its fragrance.
Other Names:
Leafy-bracted Beggarticks, Three-lobe Beggarticks, Three-lobe Bur Marigold, Three-part Beggarticks, Tickseed, Water Agrimony.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Bidens tripartita, also known as three-lobe beggarticks or three-lobe bur marigold, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to North America and is commonly found in wetland areas, such as marshes, swamps, and along the edges of ponds and lakes. B. tripartita is an annual herb that grows to a height of up to 1.5 meters. It has hairy, green leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. B. tripartita is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate wet, muddy soil.


Trifid Bur-marigold (Bidens tripartita) is a flowering plant species that belongs to the aster family (Asteraceae). It is also commonly known as three-lobed beggar-ticks or water agrimony.

This species is native to North America and is commonly found growing near waterways, in wet meadows, and along the banks of streams and rivers. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to three feet in height and has a clumping habit.

The Trifid Bur-marigold gets its name from its distinctive three-lobed leaves and bright yellow flowers. The flowers are produced in clusters and bloom from late summer to early fall. The plant is a popular source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Trifid Bur-marigold has several medicinal uses. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including digestive issues, skin conditions, and respiratory problems.

The Trifid Bur-marigold is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. It thrives in full sun or partial shade and requires moist soil. It is also a great choice for naturalizing and can be used in rain gardens or along streams and ponds.

The Trifid Bur-marigold is also an important plant species for wildlife. The seeds are an important food source for birds, and the plant provides shelter and habitat for many different species of insects and other small animals.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, the Trifid Bur-marigold is also used in restoration projects. It is a hardy species that can help to stabilize stream banks and prevent erosion. It is also an important species for restoring wetland habitats, where it provides food and shelter for wildlife.

One of the benefits of growing the Trifid Bur-marigold is its ability to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate both drought and flooding, making it a great choice for gardens and landscapes in regions with fluctuating water levels.

When planting Trifid Bur-marigold, it is important to choose a site with well-drained soil. The plant prefers a moist, but not waterlogged, soil. It is also important to provide adequate sun exposure, as the plant requires full sun or partial shade to thrive.

It is important to note that the Trifid Bur-marigold can spread quickly and may become invasive in some areas. To prevent it from spreading too much, it is recommended to remove spent flowers and seed heads before they go to seed. This can help to control the plant's spread and keep it from becoming invasive.

In terms of propagation, the Trifid Bur-marigold can be propagated by seed or by dividing the clumps of plants. When propagating by seed, it is best to sow the seeds in the fall or spring, as the seeds need a period of cold stratification to germinate. When propagating by division, it is best to divide the clumps of plants in the spring or fall, when the plant is dormant.

In terms of care, the Trifid Bur-marigold is a low maintenance plant that requires very little attention once established. It is important to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and to remove any spent flowers or seed heads to prevent the plant from becoming invasive.

In conclusion, the Trifid Bur-marigold is a versatile and attractive plant that has many benefits and uses. Whether grown for its ornamental value, its medicinal uses, or its importance to wildlife, this species is a great addition to any garden or landscape. Just be mindful of its potential to become invasive, and take steps to control its spread as necessary.

30 Facts About Trifid Bur-marigold

Here are 30 facts about Trifid bur-marigold:

  • Scientific Name: Bidens tripartita.

  • Common Names: Trifid bur-marigold, three-lobe beggarticks, three-part beggarticks.

  • Habitat: Trifid bur-marigold is native to Europe and can be found in wetland areas, such as marshes, swamps, and along the edges of streams and ponds.

  • Appearance: It is a herbaceous plant with serrated leaves and bright yellow flowers.

  • Flowers: The flowers are daisy-like and have a central disk surrounded by several yellow ray florets.

  • Height: Trifid bur-marigold can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall.

  • Blooming Season: It typically blooms from late summer through early autumn.

  • Three-lobed Leaves: The name "trifid" refers to the three lobes or leaflets on each leaf.

  • Fruits: After flowering, the plant produces small, elongated fruits with barbed seeds that easily stick to clothing and animal fur.

  • Invasive Species: Trifid bur-marigold can be invasive in some regions, as it can quickly colonise wetland areas and displace native plants.

  • Seed Dispersal: Its seeds are dispersed by animals and water, helping it spread to new locations.

  • Beneficial to Wildlife: The flowers provide nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

  • Medicinal Uses: In some traditional herbal medicine systems, Trifid bur-marigold has been used to treat various ailments, but it is not widely used in modern herbal medicine.

  • Edible Parts: The young leaves of Trifid bur-marigold are edible and can be used in salads or cooked as a leafy green vegetable.

  • Wildlife Attraction: The plant can attract a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, which use it as a food source.

  • Roots: The roots of Trifid bur-marigold have been used as a coffee substitute in some cultures.

  • Water-loving Plant: It thrives in wet, waterlogged soil conditions.

  • Growth Rate: Trifid bur-marigold is a fast-growing plant.

  • Control Measures: Due to its invasive tendencies, it may require control measures in some ecosystems to protect native plant species.

  • Herbaceous Perennial: It is a herbaceous perennial, meaning it dies back to the ground in the winter and regrows in the spring.

  • Hybridisation: Trifid bur-marigold can hybridise with other Bidens species, leading to genetic variation.

  • Seed Production: A single plant can produce a large number of seeds, contributing to its potential for spreading rapidly.

  • Naturalised: It has become naturalised in various parts of North America and other regions outside of its native range.

  • Water Purification: Trifid bur-marigold has been used in constructed wetlands to help purify water by absorbing nutrients and filtering pollutants.

  • Ecological Role: It plays a role in the ecology of wetland ecosystems by providing habitat and food for various organisms.

  • Insect Associations: Some insects, such as gall-forming midges, are known to be associated with Trifid bur-marigold.

  • Rhizomatous Growth: The plant can spread through rhizomes (underground stems), further aiding its colonisation of wetland areas.

  • Conservation Concerns: In some regions, Trifid bur-marigold may be considered a threat to native plant diversity and wetland habitats.

  • Cultural Significance: It may hold cultural or historical significance in some regions where it is native.

  • Management Strategies: Land managers and conservationists often employ strategies to control or manage the spread of Trifid bur-marigold in sensitive ecosystems.


Trifid Bur-marigold filmed along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Appley Bridge in Lancashire on the 1st September 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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