Common Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris), family Dipsacaceae (Teasel)
Quote: 'The flowers bloom in progression. They start in a belt around the center of the spike and new ones open daily in both directions, over time forming two bands of flowers " The name comes from the Greek ... dispa meaning thirst. Wool manufactures used the dried heads to tease the cloth; and gave the flower it's common name. The outer spines are very sharp and should be handeled with care.' End quote. The plant is originally native to Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. There are only about 15 species in the genus. Quote: 'The genus name is derived from the word for thirst and refers to the cup-like formation made where sessile leaves merge at the stem. Rain water can collect in this receptacle; this may perform the
function of preventing sap-sucking insects such as aphids from climbing the stem. The leaves are lanceolate, 20-40 cm long and 3-6 cm broad, with a row of small spines on the underside of the midrib. Teasels are easily identified with their prickly stem and leaves, and the inflorescence of purple, dark pink or lavender flowers that form a head on the end of the stem(s). The inflorescence is ovoid, 4-10 cm long and 3-5 cm broad, with a basal whorl of spiny bracts. The first flowers begin opening in a belt around the middle of the spherical or oval flowerhead, and then open sequentially toward the top and bottom, forming two narrow belts as the flowering progresses. The dried head persists afterwards, with the small (4-6 mm) seeds maturing in mid autumn. The seeds are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably the European Goldfinch; teasels are often grown in gardens and encouraged on nature reserves to attract them.' End quote.
Plant location was the Big Dry Creek Open Space in Colorado on July 22, 2008. We have to smile at the name Big Dry.....as you can see there was plenty of water in the creek.....and there always is that we have seen. Teasels have been naturalised in many regions away from their native range, partly due to the import of Fuller's Teasel for textile processing, and partly by the seed being a contaminant mixed with crop seeds. The members of the genus are extensively spread throughout the United States and are considered invasive. Their habitats are fields, thickets, pastures, waste ground, open woods, roadsides, and railroads.
Bloom period: This herb blooms from July through October. 'A number of medicinal properties claimed for the teasel, though not proven in medical trials: * Cure of Lyme Disease. * Antibiotic. * Improved circulation. * Cure for warts. * Eyewash (water collected in the cup formed by sessile leaves).' One species in the genus fullonum, another very common teasel was used by the Iroquois tribe as a poison, the powdered roots being considered poisonous.Foliage