Eastern Forest Threat Center - Common Teasel

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Common teasel flower

Common teasel flower

David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

Common Teasel
Dipsacus fullonum

Common teasel is a European plant introduced to North America in the 1700s. It is currently used in horticultural plantings and dried flower arrangements.

Keywords: Dipsacaceae; Common names: Fuller's teasel, barber's brush, card teasel, card-thistle, church broom, gypsy-combs, Venus' cup, wild teasel

Distribution Map Distribution Source Image

Threat Description

Common teasel is a monocarpic perennial. The plant grows as a basal rosette for a minimum of one year, then sends up a flowering stalk and dies after flowering. Teasel develops a large taproot that may be over 2 ft. in length and 1 in. in diameter at the crown. Flowering plants, with stems reaching 6-7 ft. in height, have large, oblong, opposite, prickly, sessile leaves forming cups that may hold water. Flowers appearing June to October are small, generally purple, and packed in dense, oval-shaped heads. The flowers are subtended by stiff, spiny bracts located terminally on the flowering stems. A single plant can produce over 2,000 seeds that may remain viable for at least 2 years. Seeds typically don't disperse far; however, highway mowing equipment and inappropriate disposal of dried teasel heads from flower arrangements can increase the spread. Teasel grows in open, sunny, wet to dry habitats. It commonly occurs on roadsides and in heavily disturbed areas, and it sometimes occurs in high quality prairies, savannas, seeps, and sedge meadows. Teasel is an aggressive exotic that forms extensive monocultures.