Young teasels coming into their own at the soccer field complex.
Teasel is herbaceous plant that originates from Europe and temperate parts of Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 18th century. Teasel can be found in the fields, pastures, meadows, areas near the roads, open forests and savannas. It prefers fertile soil and damp areas. People cultivate teasel mostly in ornamental purposes today and use it for the preparation of various floral arrangements.
Teasel produces erect stem that can reach 2 to 8 feet in height. Stem starts to develop during the second year.
Teasel develops lanceolate, puckered leaves with serrated edges. They are bright green colored and covered with hairs on the upper surface. Leaves initially grow in the form of rosette at the base of the plant. During the second year of growth, teasel starts to produce smaller leaves arranged in the opposite pairs. Their bases fuse around flowering stem, forming a “cup” which collects the water after the rainfall.
Teasel develops prickly flowering stem with multiple branches in the upper part. Branches end with cone-shaped clusters of flowers. Each cluster consists of 250 to 1500 individual, tube-shaped white flowers with purple lobes.
Each “cone” (cluster of flowers) is filled with short bristles and surrounded by long stiff bracts (modified leaves).
Teasel blooms from July to September. Flowers attract bumblebees and honeybees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of teasel is light brown, hairy achene filled with one seed. Each plant produces around 3.300 seed per season.
Teasel propagates via seed.
Seed of teasel are important source of food for the blackbirds and goldfinches.
Honey made of nectar extracted from the teasel flowers is popular and often consumed in some parts of the world.
Scientific name of the plant “Dipsacus” originates from the Greek word “dipsa” which means “thirst”. Name refers to the unusual cup-like structures made of fused leaves which are designed for the accumulation of rainwater.
Name “teasel” refers to obsolete application of curved bracts of teasel in teasing of wool (cleaning, raising the nap and aligning of fibers). This practice originates from the ancient Rome. In most parts of the world, flower heads of teasel are replaced with machines in the manufacture of wool today.
According to the ancient belief, water collected from the cups made of teasel leaves can alleviate irritation and swelling of eyes and improve complexion of the face.
Teasel was used in traditional Chinese medicine in treatment of muscle pain, inflammation, tendon injuries and arthritis. Ancient Greeks used infusion made of teasel root in treatment of diarrhea, lack of appetite, liver disorders and for the elimination of toxins from the body.
Dried teasel can be used as a source of blue dye.
Teasel is biennial plant which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.