24 April 2021
A North American species of flowering plant in the aster family, sunflower family. It is widespread across much of Canada, the United States, and Mexico It is known in many other parts of the world as an introduced species, including Europe, Asia, Morocco, and New Zealand. Its many common names include devil’s beggarticks, devil’s-pitchfork, devil’s bootjack, sticktights, bur marigold, pitchfork weed, tickseed sunflower, leafy beggarticks, and common beggar-ticks.
Annual herb, usually growing to 20 to 60 centimeters (8-20 inches) tall, but it may reach 1.8 meters (72 inches or 6 feet). The stems are square in cross-section and may branch near the top. The leaves are pinnate, divided into a few toothed triangular or lance-shaped leaflets usually 6 or 8 centimeters long, sometimes up to 12. The inflorescence is often a solitary flower head, but there may be pairs or arrays of several heads. The head contains many orange disc florets. Most flower heads lack ray florets but some may have a few small yellow rays. The fruit is a flat black or brown barbed cypsela up to a centimeter long which has two obvious hornlike pappi at one end.
The barbed pappi on the fruit help it stick to animals, facilitating seed dispersal.
Grows best where there is ample soil moisture and sun, especially in areas where something has disrupted the existing plant community leaving bare ground. It can survive in water saturated soils, frequently found growing at the water’s edge, in drainage ditches or on flood plains.