Now in September there comes over the countryside that true autumn glory which reaches a climax of color in the massing of yellow everywhere. September is the yellow time; now the tickseed sunflowers bloom. There are millions of those glistening orange-yellow daisy flowers in all the low damp places. They follow the contours of the landscape and grow in all the open sunny lowlands - down the meandering length of a drainage wash in a field, along the roadside ditches, across whole deserted fields, especially in southern Illinois in the oil fields. There is in the tick-seed sunflower little of the aspect of weediness so often associated with the late summer and autumn flowers. These plains are all low. seldom more than two feel tall, slender, smooth, with finely compound thin, glossy leaves, and many branching stalks bearing those cupped, dazzling yellow flowers. They are open in sunshiny weather, closed and drooped in rain or at night. To Illinois they give something of the same splash of golden color over the landscape which is provided by California poppies on the hillsides of the west.
Bidens aristosa ( Michx. ) Britt.
August - September Fields. ditches.
The tickseed sunflower is not a true sunflower, but is in the genus Bidens, the bur-marigolds, beggar-ticks, and Spanish needles. They are noted for their two to four barbed awns on the seeds which stick to a passerby and travel along on his clothing. Some are exceedingly sharp and unpleasant, others not so persistent. Only a few of the Bidens have flowers of any beauty; most of them are so highly efficient as seed producers that they have no ray flowers, but concentrate flower energy upon the center - the flower is all center-where the massed seeds are developed.