Plant of the Month Oct 2018: Bur-marigolds

Bur-marigolds (Bidens laevis and Bidens cernua) are native wildflowers found in wet places and shallow fresh water. These two species are very similar, but should not be confused with the marigolds planted in many of our flower beds­–those are a completely different-looking, non-native plant.

The bright-yellow, daisy-like flowers of Bur-marigolds appear in late summer to fall and are spectacularly beautiful along pond edges. The flowers are more numerous with full exposure to the sun. The plants can grow up to three feet or more in height but are usually around one foot tall. Their toothed, lance-shaped leaves lie close to the stem.

The fruits are seeds with barbs that stick to animal fur and clothing, thereby facilitating dispersal. Bur-marigold nectar attracts bees and butterflies and the seeds are eaten by ducks and other birds.

See Go Native—Grow Native to learn more about native plants that grow well in the Northern Neck.

Photo: Bur-marigolds in bloom by a pond by Gary Chafin.