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DIPSACUS fullonum

Image of Dipsacus fullonum

Jesse Saylor

Family

Dipsacaceae

Botanical Name

DIPSACUS fullonum

Plant Common Name

Fuller's Teasel

General Description

A Eurasian native whose seedheads were once used to tease wool and nap leather, this well-armed biennial or short-lived perennial is now an invasive nuisance in parts of the United States and other countries. From an overwintering rosette of toothed oval leaves it produces a tall branching prickly stem lined with paired opposite spiny leaves that fuse at the base. The stem branches terminate in large bristly thimble-shaped flowerheads with long spiny basal bracts. Small tubular purple flowers open in rings around each flowerhead from mid- to late summer, starting at the head's midriff and progressing toward its ends. Light brown, single-seeded fruits follow the flowers. The stems and cone-like seed heads often persist for months after bloom. Plants die after flowering, self-sowing to form more taprooted rosettes.

Common teasel is a weed of damp roadsides, pastures, and fields, sometimes forming large colonies. Its seedheads work well in arrangements. Use it in naturalistic plantings or utilitarian gardens within its native range.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Plant Type

    Biennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    5'-7' / 1.5m - 2.1m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes