Sunday, July 27, 2008

The teasel: noxious weed, dubious decor?

The teasel (or teazel) (or teazle), Dipsacus fullonum, is a prickly denizen of simple, rustic dried- flower arrangements. It is native to Eurasia and northern Africa, and can be an invasive weed in North America, where it may be more common than is evident because it’s a biennial, and the first year leaves look more-or-less thistly, thus get yanked before having a chance to send up the spiky sky-pod of the second year.

Because of its weedy reputation I was surprised to see large stands of teasel in the gardens at Paulik Park in Richmond, but they certainly do catch the eye. They are up to 6-7 feet tall, and the flowers are fun. An equatoriall band of mauve florets blooms, and as it starts to die off, the florets on either side bloom, resulting in simultaneous waves of florets migrating north and south on the flower head.

And when they’re done, you can cut some stems, put them in an old umbrella stand and tuck them in a corner, behind a door.


chey said...

They certainly have an interesting appearance. Too bad they're invasive.

Laura said...

I guess if properly controlled they could be quite a beautiful plant. Unfortunatly invasive plants and I dont get along well. Not since I had to uncover the Dogwood trees from the ivy that was killing them when I moved in. In a residential setting, Im unsure why anyone would unleash these plauges on their neighborhood. PITA for sure.