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Wild Teasel Dipsacus fullonum (Dipsacus sylvestris)


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Wild Teasel - habit
credit: Bernd Haynold/CCSA

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Alternate name: Fuller's Teasel

Family: Dipsacaceae, Teasel view all from this family

Description This coarse, prickly plant produces a grainy, egg-shaped flowerhead on a spiny stem rising from a basal rosette.
Habit: introduced biennial herb; erect, with spiny hollow stems, branched at top; taprooted.
Height: 2-8 ft (0.6-2.4 m)
Leaf: in basal rosette, narrowly oval to lanceolate, wrinkled, pointed, edges wavy or scalloped, lower midvein prickly; on stem, opposite, becoming clasping, simple; to 12 in (30 cm) long.
Flower: tiny, lavender to white; held in egg-shaped terminal flowerhead, 1.5-4 in (4-10 cm) tall, with long spiny bracts curving up around the flowerhead.
Fruit: small dry seed, four-angled, spine-tipped, to 0.125 in (3 mm) tall.

Flower April to October.

Habitat Moist and sunny; a weed of old fields, pastures, hayfields, turfgrass, ditches, canals, roadsides, disturbed areas.

Range Native to Europe and North Africa, introduced in the 1700's, escaped and naturalized throughout North America; found in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, and in the lower 48 states except for North Dakota, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Maine.

Discussion Also called teasel, common teasel, wild teasel, card thistle, gypsy combs. Considered weedy or invasive in many locations; listed as noixious in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico.

The cultivated form of this plant is generally recognised as a distinct species under the name Dipsacus sativus.