Teasel
(Wild Teasel - Common Teasel)
Dipsacus sylvestris Syn: fullonum
Dipsacaceae (Teasel) Family

The image seen is of teasel which has completed its life cycle, matured its seed and is awaiting wind, rain, animals and birds to disperse them.. The small lavender flowers are clustered at the top of a prickly stem.

Each flower is less than 1/2 inch long and tubular. The calyx is 5-lobed and the corolla is 4-lobed. The entire cluster measures about 4 inches long and approximately 1-2 inches wide. Spiny bracts project between the flowers and longer, horizontal or upward-curving spiny bracts surround the base of each flowering spike. Flowering usually occurs between July and October. The progression of flowers open on the spike in all species starting in a belt around the center of the spike. New ones open daily in both directions. In time the tiny flowers form two bands of flowers.

The leaves are 4-16 inches long, lance-like, toothed, and opposite on the stem. The upper leaves are fused at their bases around the stem.

The preferred habitat of Teasel is old fields and roadsides, usually in basic or neutral soils.

Teasel was originally brought from Europe. This biennial was cultivated by wool manufacturers. The dried flower head was placed on a spindle and used to raise the nap, or tease the cloth; hence the common name.

     

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