Information on Wild Teasel

Common Name: Wild Teasel
Scientific Name: Dipsacus fullonum
Irish Name: Leadán úcaire
Family Group: Dipsacaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Wild Teasel is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Handsome, distinctive, tall biennial of embankments, hedgerows and riverbanks, the Teasel can grow to a majestic two metres in height.  In its first year it forms a rosette of serrated, spiny leaves and in the second year its angled, prickly stems rise up stiffly, by July producing unmistakeable, egg-shaped flowerheads.  These are covered with spiny little bracts and rings of blue-purple flowers.  Below the bristly flowerheads are whorls of bracts like long, skinny fingers holding them  aloft.  The stem leaves are opposite and joined at their bases, so collecting water.  In autumn the flowerheads remain, full of dry and papery seeds.  This is probably a native plant and it belongs to the family Dipsaceae. 

I first identified this plant at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow in 1977 and photographed it at Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2005. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Teasel, Wild
Teasel, Wild

This is a real nature lover's plant and worth having in one's garden.  The little pools formed at the base of the stem leaves provide drinks for insects, the flowers attract so many bumblebees, butterflies and other little flying creatures and the seeds entice those beautiful wild birds, Goldfinches, who arrive in their 'charms' to feed on the seeds.  Although the plant can take over a bit, it's surely worth putting up with its bad manners for what it brings into the garden. 

The spiny heads of Teasels were used throughout the ages to comb or raise the nap on woollen cloth, being gentler than any metal combs if they were to meet an obstruction.  The coat of arms of the Clothworkers' Company granted in 1530 proudly displays a golden teasel head.