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Common teasel flower head

Common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)

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 common teasel
Common teasel is Restricted (Orange counties)

Other names for this plant include:

  • Common names: Fuller's teasel, wild teasel
  • Scientific names: D. fullonum ssp. fullonum; D. fullonum ssp. slyvestris; D. sylvestris

Ecological threat:

  • Invades open areas, 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 common 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. Common teasel’s leaves are not lobed.

Flowers: Hundreds of small flowers, clustered in dense, egg-shaped heads. Stiff, spiny, leaf-like bracts curve up from base of flower head. Common teasel has purple flowers and bracts longer than the flower heads. Common blooms from June-October.

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: Cut-leaved teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus) leaves are broader and have deep, feathering lobes. Its bracts are shorter than the flower heads. The flowers are white and bloom from July-September.


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

Do you have common 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 common 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