Friday, June 06, 2008

Invasive Species Spotlight: Teasel

There are two teasel species found in Illinois: common teasel and cut-leaved teasel. Both of these are described as biennial herbaceous. The first year, the plant grows as a basal rosette; the second year, both species flower and can grow up to 6 feet tall. Common teasel blooms from June through October (pink or purple flowers), while cut-leaved teasel usually blooms July through September (white flowers). The unique flowers make teasel readily identifiable when blooming.

Native to Europe, these plants were originally used in the 1700’s for combing wool. Due to their unique flower structure, they are now popular in dried flower arrangements and horticultural plantings. However, these plants are persistent invaders of natural areas. They are commonly found along roadsides, but can also be found in disturbed areas. These teasel species are aggressive exotic plants that produce large numbers of seeds and can easily colonize areas, displacing native plants.
Management of teasel includes removing existing plants to prevent seed dispersion. Plants can be dug up and disposed of or several herbicides can be effective if plants are sprayed before flower initiation.

Common Teasel

Cut-leaved Teasel


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