Common name:  Common Teasel
Scientific name:  Dipsacus fullonum L.
Synonyms: Teasel, Fuller's teasel
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.
Lifecycle: Monocarpic perennial
Related species: Cutleaf teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus L.), Fuller's teasel (Dipsacus sativus)
Habitat: Prefers sunny, open habitats such as roadsides or pastures. Teasels tolerate wet and dry soils. It will easily establish in disturbed areas, but can also invade high quality environments
Impacts: Environmental: forms large dense stands that outcompete desirable plant species. Reduces wildlife forage, habitat and species diversity. Agriculture: grazing animals will avoid eating teasel leaves and stems.
Native range: Europe, temperate Asia, and northern Africa
Means of spread: Prolific seed producer which can spread by wildlife, water and equipment. Teasel heads are also used in decorative flower arrangements.


Common teasel 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 once before dying. The plant forms a taproot and rosette its first year and often produces seed it’s second year (biennial). It can stay in a rosette form for more than one year. Once teasel stores enough energy, it will send up a prickly, and hollow stalk with opposite, unlobed leaves that form a cup. The flowers are produced on a 4-7 foot stalk. Blooming occurs from June to October. Flower heads are egg shaped with sharp bracts surround each pink to purple flower. The larger, outer bracts extend past the flowerhead (see below).

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Common teasel seed next to a ruler.

Seeds are rectangular, brown and highly grooved. Seeds can remain viable in soil for 3-5 years.

Common teasel flower head with purple flowers.

Common teasel produces a clustered seed head. Flowers are pink or purple and have 4 petals.


Cluster of seed heads

Each plant produces multiple seed heads. Bracts below the seed head  are long and curl beyond the seed head. 


Low laying rosette.

Teasel will spend its first year as a rosette before bolting. Common teasel rosettes are dark green, spiny and have a large white mid-vein.


Leaf intersection that forms a cup and is filled with water.

Leaves are opposite and form a cup where they intersect. Water can collect in the cup.


A common teasel stalk with multiple leaf intersections visible.

Leaves are triangular, lanced shaped and can have spines on the top of leaf. Common teasel leaves can grow up to 12 inches long, and have a large white mid-vein covered in spines on the underside.

Three teasel plants near a road.

Common teasel grows 4-7 feet tall in a variety of full sun environments.


Infestation in a grass pasture.

Common teasel produces large amounts of seed. Movement of seed by mowing or water allows teasel to completely establish an area.


Dried common teasel seed head.

Once seed matures, the plant dies and the seed head dries out. Seed heads are often seen in floral displays.




Mechanical: Mowing (frequently before flowering), digging/severing taproot, clip seed heads

chemical: Foliar spray with herbicide, pre-emergence