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Cut-leaved teasel flower head

Cut-leaved teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus)

Herbaceous, monocarpic perennial. Grows as a basal rosette for at least one year. Forms a prickly, angled flowering stalk, 2-6’ tall, typically in second or third year.


Regulated areas of cut-leaved teasel
Cut-leaved teasel is Restricted (Orange counties)

Ecological threat:

  • Invades open areas, including prairies, savannas, and sedge meadows, as well as roadsides and disturbed areas.
  • Rapid range expansion of cut-leaved teasel has been observed in several Midwestern states.

Classification in Wisconsin: Restricted

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for cut-leaved teasel was based upon this literature review developed by the department.


Leaves: Opposite, large (up to 1.5’ long), oblong, and prickly. Leaves of flowering plants join into cup around stem. Leaves of cut-leaved teasel are broader and have deep, feathering lobes.

Flowers: Hundreds of small flowers, clustered in dense, egg-shaped heads. Stiff, spiny, leaf-like bracts curve up from base of flower head. Cut-leaved teasel has bracts shorter than the flower heads, white flowers and blooms from July-September.

Fruits & seeds: Each plant can produce as many as 2,000 seeds. Seeds remain viable in the soil for at least 2 years.

Roots: Deep taproot, up to 2’ long and 1” in diameter.

Similar species: Common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) leaves are not lobed and flower bracts are longer than the flower heads. Flowers are purple and bloom from June-October.


Known county distribution of cut-leaved teasel
Counties in WI where cut-leaved teasel has been reported (as of July 2011). Both vouchered and unvouchered reports included.

Do you have cut-leaved teasel in your county but it isn't shaded on the map? Send us a report.


Mechanical: Rosettes can be dug up making sure to remove as much of the root as possible. Mature plants can be cut in full bud stage; plant will re-sprout but will not flower. Bag and dispose of stems. Late spring burns.

Chemical: Foliar spray with triclopyr, clopyralid, aminopyralid, or metsulfuron before plant has bolted. Spray rosettes in fall with glyphosate.

For more information on control techniques, visit the Teasels factsheet [exit DNR] by University of Wisconsin-Extension.


View cut-leaved teasel pictures in our photo gallery!


Sources for content:

  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 59-61
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension Weed Science

Links for More Information

Last revised: Friday May 31 2019