Common name: Common Teasel
Scientific name: Dipsacus fullonum L.
Related species: Cutleaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus L.)
Legal Status: Prohibited - Eradicate
All above and below ground parts of the plant must be destroyed. Additionally, no transportation, propagation, or sale of this plant is allowed. Failure to comply may result in an enforcement action by the county or local municipality. Minnesota Noxious Weed Law.
Common teasel is a native of Europe and was introduced to the United States in the 1700s. Like its close relative cutleaf teasel, it was used in the textile industry to raise the nap on woolen cloth and as an ornamental in gardens and floral arrangements. It escaped cultivation and has since spread throughout the United States.
- Common teasel is a monocarpic perennial that produces seed only once in its lifetime.
- It will germinate from seed and stay in a rosette form until it has enough resources to produce a flowering stalk.
- The plant has a strong, deep taproot and prickly stems and leaves. Grazing animals will not eat the leaves and stems.
- The leaves are long, narrow, unlobed, and meet at the stem to form a cup that holds water.
- The flowers are produced on a 6 foot or taller stalk and are distinctive for their bristly, egg shape and light pink color. The plant flowers from June until October.
Common teasel prefers sunny areas and is tolerant of wet to dry soils. In Western states, it is found growing along roadsides, in pastures, and sedge meadows. It was recently discovered growing along a trout stream in southeastern Minnesota.
Means of spread and distribution
Common teasel is a prolific seed producer. Many of the seeds germinate where they fall next to the parent plant, and this allows the plant to form a monoculture that becomes difficult to manage. Seeds can be carried by water and teasels threaten riparian areas. Humans can also aid spread by using the fresh or dried flowers in decorative arrangements.
The teasels form large, dense stands that choke out desirable plant species. This can reduce forage, wildlife habitat, and species diversity.
Prevention and management
- Do not plant common teasel or intentionally move soil, including soil adhered to recreational vehicles or lawn/garden equipment, which may contain seed of this species. Do not use seedheads in floral arrangements.
- Infestation sites will need to be monitored and treated repeatedly until the seedbanks are depleted. Common teasel seedbanks remain viable for a relatively short time, 3-5 years.
- Hand-pulling and digging are management options for small infestations, but the large, fleshy taproots are difficult to remove. Flowers and seedheads will need to be bagged and disposed of.
- Frequent mowing throughout the growing season that prevents flowering can deplete food reserves in the taproots and reduce stands over time. It is important to monitor the site and ensure that plants do not flower on shortened stalks. Also remove any stalks that were flattened, but not cut by the mower.
- This species also responds favorably to annual herbicide treatments. For specific herbicide recommendations, contact your University of Minnesota Extension Regional Office.