Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)

Photo: (c) lcm1863 CC-BY-ND-2.0 license

(syn Dipsacus sylvestris)
Family: Dipsacaceae

Growth Habit: Teasel is commonly found in large clumps in damp areas, such as drains and creeks. The leaves have rough surfaces, oblong up to 50 cm long and form a rosette. It has stout flowering stems that can grow up to 2m in height. The stems are square in cross-section and are prickly, with stem leaves lanceolate, opposite and shorter than rosette leaves. It has a deep fleshy, yellow taproot.

The plant’s characteristic seed heads were formerly used to tease out impurities in wool, hence the common name teasel.

Type of Plant: A stout biennial herb.

Flowers: The conical flower heads are surrounded by spiny bracts. The heads are 5-10 cm long and are located at the end of the stems. Numerous tubular florets are compacted in each head.

Fruit/Seed: Greyish-brown seeds 3-4 mm long and 1.2-2 mm wide are produced in late summer.

Dispersal: Seed is moved short distances by water and soil movement.

Distribution: Teasel can be found in waste places, roadsides, creek banks and damp places. It is occasionally found in run down pastures.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania.

Weed Impact:

  • It can compete with pasture species, but pasture improvements can readily remove the plant.
  • Often chokes small and slow moving waterways.
  • Recorded as being used for medicinal purposes.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.

Control Methods:

  • Cultivation (autumn). Seedlings and rosettes can be killed through cultivation.
  • Mowing/slashing (early Summer- when flower have formed but seed has not developed). Flowering stalks should be mowed or slashed before they seed to help control the spread.
  • Herbicide. Spot spray. Herbicides registered in Tasmania include dicamba, MCPA and glyphosate.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.