TEASEL (Dipsacus fullonum)

Europe, N Africa, W Asia

Teasel trio plus small bee, july 7 2014

 

The Teasel is a tall, dramatic wildflower, a biennial that begins life as a rosette of leaves lying flat to the ground.

Teasel leaves w Hedge Woundwort, Herb Rober, Lamium leaves

Each leaf is rounded, its surface a pattern of folds and bumps. Now, in its first year, it can easily be pulled up and moved to a sunny spot where passing humans will not brush against it.

Year Two

Young Teasels in sunshine

teasel

In its second year the Teasel grows like Jack’s beanstalk. The rounded leaves become daggers, with prickles running from the spiny stem down to the now-pointy leaf tips. Rainwater collects in the joins where the leaves clasp the stem, a feature of this plant ; its botanical name comes from the Greek ‘dipsa’, for thirst. Now quite protected from grazing animals, the prickly Teasel is free to grow, and can reach a height of 2.5 metres (8.2 feet). Spiky green, eggshaped ‘thistles’ appear at its stem tips.

Teasel. mural

Teasel, Ecology Centre Mural, Gillespie Park

bumblebee-leggy-on-teasel

 

Bees’ Favourite.

Tiny LAVENDER PINK flowers appear in bands around these egg-shaped ‘thistles’ attracting bees, and butterflies such as the Red Admiral and the Comma. Seeds form later, enjoyed by Goldfinches and other birds.

‘The prickly heads were used for combing – ‘teasing’ – the knots out of sheep’s wool.’

A LITTLE GUIDE TO WILD FLOWERS, Charlotte Voake

https://www.edenproject.com/shop/A-Little-Guide-to-Wild-Flowers.aspx

 

Other names: Barber’s Brushes, Brushes and Combs, Card Thistle, Church Broom, Donkey’s Thistle, Fairie’s Broom, Fairies’ Fire, Fuller’s Teasel, Gypsy-combs, Hair-Brush, Johnny-prick-the-finger, Lady’s Brush and Comb, Lady’s Brushes, Little Brushes, Teazel, Teazle, Venus’ Basin, Venus’ Cup.

VIDEO – COMMA BUTTERFLY ON TEASEL

 

VIDEO – TEASEL IN BLOOM, LATE AFTERNOON

 

SPENT TEASELS, birdbath, lemon balm, fatsia, etc.

In Christopher Lloyd‘s garden at Great Dixter, Teasels planted in the massive flowerbeds are left – dried, brown and dramatic – after the plants have finished flowering. In our somewhat more modest garden, we too leave the dried remains of our Teasels to stand through the coming winter.

VIDEO – SPENT TEASELS AT GREAT DIXTER

Medicinal and Historical

 ‘Teasel helps with joint and tendon injuries, muscle pain and inflammation, chronic arthritis and lower back weakness. It is now being used for Lyme disease, ME and fibromyalgia.’ Hedgerow Medicine

http://www.hedgerowmedicine.com/?herb=Teasel

Dry Teasels

 

 

‘Teazles were employed in the cloth-making industry at least as far back as the Middle Ages, as they are mentioned in John Langland’s “Piers Plowman” of 1377. A rough translation is this: –

  “Cloth that comes from the weaving is in no way good to wear until it is fulled… and with the teazel scratched.”

Herbs-Treat and Taste

http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/teazle-brushes-and-combs-history-of-use.html

 

 

Warning – Prolific Maker of Seeds

Dipsacus fullonum will grow in most soils, & each prickly head can produce as many as 2,000 seeds. In this garden our wildlife eats most of the plant’s seeds, but a few usually survive to become new Teasels the following spring. In the USA, where it was introduced, Teasel is now an invasive species in some states.