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Common Teasel

Common teasel's cone-shaped flowerheads area made of thousands of lavender-colored flowers. Photo credit: WNY PRISM.

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Common Name: Common Teasel
Scientific Name: Dipsacus fullonum
Origin: Africa, Asia and Europe


Common teasel, also referred to as Fuller’s teasel, is a biennial or short-lived perennial herbaceous plant that produces a basal rosette of puckering leaves for one or more years, and then sends up a prickly, flowering stem. Its leaves are oblanceolate with spines on the underside of the midvein and on the leaf surface. Cone-shaped flowerheads are made of thousands of lavender-colored flowers. Once it flowers, the plant dies, but the dried stem and flowerhead persist and can be seen throughout the winter and even into the following season.
Cutleaf teasel is similar to common teasel, the primary difference being cutleaf teasel’s deeply lobed leaves. The species are known to hybridize.


Common teasel easily establishes in disturbed sites such as roadsides, ditches and clear cuts. Other sites with full sun to partial shade like riparian zones, meadows and forest edges can also be easily invaded.


Common teasel forms dense stands that outcompete native species. This reduces diversity and forage availability for both livestock and wildlife.


Manual removal is effective for small populations and can be done by either removing the whole plant or cutting its taproot prior to it setting seed. Chemical control is effective as well and can be done in the early spring or late fall. Mechanical removal is effective when paired with other control strategies but should not be used independently for long-term control.

Regional Distribution 


WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priority – Tier Chart


Teasel is believed to have been brought over in the 1800s for use in the textile industry to tease wool. Each flowerhead can produce 850 seeds which are then dispersed by water, soil, and animals. Human activities including mowing when seeds are present and use in floral arrangements, also contribute to the spread of this species.

Additional Resources 

Washington State Noxious Weed Profile
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources