Teasel

Dipsacus

Teasel

As summer takes a curtain call, new blooming flowers are harder to come by.  But in drying fields and along fencerows and roadsides, the tall, spiny remnants of teasel delight the eye.  Earlier in the summer, teasel produces inconspicuous white, pink or purple flowers on an oval cone of spines.  The visually interesting flower heads, borne on prickly stems, will persist in their dry state through the upcoming winter.

Teasel is not native—it was originally introduced from Europe and is now considered an invasive weed in much of North America. On the plus side, seeds of teasel are a favorite food of American Goldfinches, and the plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental for use in flower arrangements.

There are several species. Historically, the dried seedheads of one variety were once used to comb or “tease” the nap on wool fabrics.

Bloom time is summer and fall. Look for teasel now in late August–in some places you can find both new blooms and drying seed heads in the same location.

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