Dipsacus sylvestris - Common teasel
Common teasel is not a major weed for Oregon nursery
growers. A native of Europe, it is mostly seen along roadsides and
fencerows. Its generic name, sylvestris, insinuates that it grows in
the woods. However, I rarely see this plant in the woods, and again,
more often it is seen in waste areas along roadsides. Dipsacus is derived
from the Greek word 'dipsakos' which means diabetes, and a common symptom
of which is thirst (Clark, 1998). The link between 'thirst' and the
plant is apparently the water that sometimes accumulates at the base of the
oppositely arranged and jointed leaves.
Teasel is a biennial that reproduces from seed. Plants initially develop
a rosette with prickly leaves.
Basal foliage is prickly, especially the midrib on the leaf's underside.
During the second year, tall stems up to 6 feet in height emerge with a terminal
flower head. Stems are prickly.
Cauline foliage is oppositely arranged, sessile, and linear.
Flowers occur in terminal heads.
Individual flowers bloom in a spiral pattern around the egg-shaped flower
Flower heads have large spiny bracts that surround it, sometimes surpassing
the flower head in height.
Individual flowers are lilac to purple in color, tube shaped, and with 4
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