Teasel, Common (Dipsacus fullonum)
Teasel, Common (Dipsacus fullonum)
Teasel, Common (Dipsacus fullonum)
Teasel, Common (Dipsacus fullonum)

Teasel, Common (Dipsacus fullonum)

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*Designated an invasive species in the following states, no sale: CA, CO, IN, KY, MN, MO, NJ, NM, VI, WV, WI

Dipsacus fullonum is a short lived perennial that produces seed once in its life span, storing up energy for at least a year before shooting up a hollow, prickly stem. It then forms an egg-like flower head, surrounded by sharp bracts. Though only setting seed once, this plant can produce a plentiful bounty of spawn (up to 34000!), then to be spread by wildlife, water, and agricultural equipment. Teasel is native to Europe, temperate Asia, and North Africa. It is fond of roadsides, riparian areas, and pastures, easily taking hold in disturbed or degraded soils. This plant spread to North America in the 1700s, where it now has taken too much of a hold in certain regions. A large reason for the prolific travels of this plant is the practice of mowing standing plants once they’ve already gone to seed, an issue that indicates a lack of care to interact with this plant in an informed way. Be intentional in where these seeds are sown, as well as proper maintenance of deadheading the blooms if you are concerned about overcompetition and spread throughout your garden. 

The unique flower heads of Dipsacus fullonum make for lovely additions to floral arrangements. Their tufted pale pink heads are sweet as a fresh cut flower, and the dried heads add for a fun touch as well; it is best to not leave floral arrangements containing Teasel in cemeteries or other outdoor locations lest they spread where they aren’t wanted. They also have a history of application in the textile industry, used to raise the nap on woolen cloth. A blue dye obtained from this plant has been utilized as an indigo substitute, and a yellow dye is obtained when the plant is mixed with alum.