Dipsacus fullonum L.

Common Teasel

Dipsacus fullonum plant

Family - Dipsacaceae

Stems - To +2m tall, from stout taproot, erect, herbaceous, carinate, with flattened straight prickles, branching above or simple.

Dipsacus fullonum stem

Leaves - Opposite, linear-lanceolate, sessile, to +20cm long, +6cm broad, glabrous, with prickles on midrib (below) and on margins, acute. often basally connate. Basal leaves often drying by anthesis.

Dipsacus fullonum leafLeaf underside

Dipsacus fullonum leavesLeaf node

Inflorescence - Dense ovoid pedunculate cluster of many flowers terminating stem. Cluster subtended by ascending bracts to +/-10cm long. Bracts with straight prickles. Each flower subtended and cupped by an awn tipped chaff to +2cm long. Chaff pubescent, green to purple at apex.

Dipsacus fullonum inflorescenceInflorescence

Flowers - Corolla lavender at apex, whitish near base, to +1cm long, 4-lobed, dense pubescent on tube portion. Stamens 4, alternating with corolla lobes, adnate near apex of corolla tube, exserted. Filaments glabrous. Style well exserted, glabrous, white. Calyx tubular, 4-angled, 4-lobed, green. Achenes to +5mm long.

Dipsacus fullonum flowersFlowers

Dipsacus fullonum calycesFlowers and Calyces

Flowering - June - October.

Habitat - Fields, thickets, pastures, waste ground, open woods, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This species and the closely related D. laciniatus L. are noxious weeds in Missouri and throughout their range in the U.S.. The fruiting heads produce many small achenes and the plant is easily spread and hard to exterminate.
D. laciniatus differs in having leaves which are deeply pinnately lobed, and white anthers and corolla lobes.

Photographs taken off Highway 77 near Partensburg, West Virginia, 7-20-02 (DETenaglia); also in Robertsville, Franklin County, MO, 7-13-2017 (SRTurner).