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Use this print-and-carry sheet to identify and control common and cut-leaved teasel in Missouri.

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Photo of common teasel, blooming flowerhead, showing lavender flowers.

Common Teasel (Flowerhead)

Common teasel typically has lavender flowers, though occasionally a rare plant produces white flowers. It has been present in our state since before 1880 and is not as aggressive as cut-leaved teasel.

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Photo of common teasel flowering heads.

Common Teasel (Flowerheads)

“Infestation” is the term for what teasels are doing in Missouri. Learn to identify these thistlelike plants, and help to control the weedy spread of these tough, prickly invaders.

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Photo of common teasel showing opposite, unlobed leaves.

Common Teasel (Leaves)

The stem leaves of common teasel are not lobed, and though they are often fused at the base, they don’t form a cuplike structure around the stem.

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Photo of cut-leaved teasel plants showing white flowering heads.

Cut-Leaved Teasel

Currently, invasive teasels in our state occur mainly along highways, but these aggressive weeds can outcompete native plants, especially in prairies and savannas. Their spines protect them from being eaten by most herbivores, so it’s up to humans to check their spread.

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Photo of cut-leaved teasel showing flowerhead and joined, cuplike leaves.

Cut-Leaved Teasel

Cut-leaved teasel is more aggressive than common teasel. Note its flowerheads with white flowers, and the cuplike structure created by the opposite leaves as they fuse around the stem.

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Photo of cut-leaved teasel, blooming flowerhead, showing white flowers.

Cut-Leaved Teasel (Flowerheads)

Cut-leaved teasel typically has white flowers. It was first recorded in our state in 1968, when it apparently had sprouted from seeds spread from a cemetery wreath to a nearby fencerow. But there have undoubtedly been numerous introductions since then. It is robust, aggressive, and is spreading rapidly along highways and other open habitats.

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Photo of cut-leaved teasel showing deeply pinnately lobed leaves.

Cut-Leaved Teasel (Leaves)

The deeply cut, pinnately lobed stem leaves explain the name of cut-leaved teasel.

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Photo of cut-leaved teasel showing flowerhead and joined, cuplike leaves.

Teasels

Dipsacus fullonum and Dipsacus laciniatus
“Infestation” is the term for what teasels are doing in Missouri. Learn to identify these thistlelike plants, and help to control the weedy spread of these tough, prickly invaders.

Read more