Lidforss was born in Lund, Sweden, and died there. He studied botany and biology at Lund University and received his B.A. at nineteen. Later he received a Ph.D. from Lund University. He became a Professor of Botany at Uppsala University in 1909 and at Lund University in 1910. He was one of the first Swedish scientists to write popular science. Lidforss developed a strong stance against religion and the Church of Sweden. He published articles in Malmö-based social democrat newspaper Arbetet.
Lidforss was a friend of August Strindberg and was an important name in the early Swedish socialist movement. He was one of the first intellectuals in Sweden to become a socialist. He was known to be bisexual 
- David Dunér (2013). "Botaniska vandringar på Kullen. Om fältbotanikern Bengt Lidforss". Lund University Publications. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Jens Ryström (2003). Sinners and Citizens : Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden, 1880 - 1950, ISBN 0226732576, p. 112
- IPNI. Lidf.
- Beyer, Nils. Bengt Lidforss. En levnadsteckning. Stockholm: 1968.