Dipsacus fullonum L.

=D. sylvestris

Dipsacaceae (Teasel Family)


Wild Teasel

                                          June Photo


Plant Characteristics:  Biennial, 1-2 m. high, with numerous short prickles on the stems especially below the inflorescence, the midrib of the leaves and the involucral bracts, otherwise glabrous or nearly so; lower lvs. obtuse, crenate or sometimes pinnatifid, often 2-3 dm. long; upper stem-lvs. sessile or the uppermost slightly connate, acuminate at apex, and usually entire; infl. 5-10 cm. ovoid-cylindric; foliaceous bracts of the involucre as long as the heads or longer, linear and curved upward; bracts of the receptacle ovate, tipped by a long, straight, subulate awn usually exceeding the flowers; calyx limb cup-shaped, green, villous, 4-lobed, persistent; corolla lavender, 9-12 mm. long, lobes 4, unequal; stamens 4; achenes 4 angled, hairy, 6-8 mm. long.


Habitat:  Northern coast, Klamath Ranges, central and southern Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay area, common in Washington and Oregon; also eastern United States.  June-Sept.   Certain of the family Dipsacus are ornamentals and may escape from cultivation.  (Robbins, et al. 414).


Name:  Greek dipsa, thirst, since the connate leaf bases in some species hold water.  (Munz, Flora So. Calif. 395).  Fullonum, for fulling or raising the nap on woolen cloth.  (Bailey 949).  Sylves-tris, of the woods or forests, growing wild.  (Bailey 22).                                                     

General:  Rare in the study area with only one plant known and this about .375 miles above Big Canyon on the bay side of Back Bay Dr.  The plant is out of its normal growth range, which is usually above San Francisco.  The species name  Fullonum has been used for both D. fullonum and D. sativus and the common name Fullerís Teasel is applied to D. sativus and not D. fullonum.  It appears that long usage of the wrong names has left us with a common name given to the wrong plant.  (my comments).           The fruit head of D. sativus was long used to raise the nap on woolen cloth.  D. fullonum  L. and D. sylvestris  Hudson have been misapplied to D. sativus.            (Hickman, Ed. 540).        It is interesting that the supplement to Munzís A California Flora,  published in 1968, recognizes the error mentioned above as does Munzís A Flora of Southern California published in 1974 but the 1974 Munz lists only D. sativus, probably because D. fullonum is not supposed to be in southern California.  (my comment).        Ten or eleven genera, 270-350 species, Europe to east Asia, central and southern Africa.  Several cultivated for ornament.  (Hickman, Ed. 540).


Text Ref:  Abrams, Vol. IV 64; Munz, A Calif. Flora 1057 and 145 of the supplement; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 395; Hickman, Ed. 540; Robbins et al. 414.        

Photo Ref:  June 2 99 #6,7,8,10.

Identity: by R. De Ruff, confirmed by John Johnson.

First Found:  June 1999.


Computer Ref: Plant Data 516.

Plant specimen donated to UC Riverside in 2004. 

Last edit 8/4/05.


                      June Photo                                                                            June Photo