Wild Flower of the month July

Wild Flower of the month July

Wild Flower of the month July

Teasel
Dipsacus fullonum                                     teasel1teasel3

Wild Teasel is a native, stiff, biennial herb, growing up to 3m the small flowers are in a flower-head (capitulum) up to 8 cm. Each flower comprises a calex cup made up of 4 spiny sepals, a blue-purple corolla made up of 4 petal lobes. Flowers have 2 stamens and a style with an oblique linear stigma. Leaves are lanceolate and prickly and fold up to envelop the stem and flowers in spring.
Flower heads are persistent and spiny and were in the past used for carding wool fibres. A related species, Fullers teasel, which has stiffer more erect spines, was the main one used in the woollen industry.

Teasels are probably most commonly known for their brown, prickly stems and conical seed heads which persist long after the plants themselves have died back for the winter. Between July and August, when Teasels are in flower, the spiky flower heads are mostly green with rings of purple flowers. Found in damp grassland and field edges, or on disturbed ground, such as roadside verges and waste grounds, Teasels are visited by bees when in flower, and birds when seeding.

Teasels are tall plants, often reaching the height of a person. They have thorns all the way up their stems and a cone-like flower head which gives the plant the impression of an oversized cotton bud. The flowers are tiny and purple, clustering together and appearing in rings up and down the flower head; the seed heads turn brown in winter.

Found mainly in England, but does grow elsewhere in the UK.

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