A distinctive plant much loved by bees, goldfinches and flower arrangers.
A biennial wildflower that can grow up to 2 metres in height. It has small, pale purple/pink flowers which open a band at a time around an egg-shaped flower-head. These are extremely attractive to insects, particularly bees. When the flowers die, the seed head remains, and it is this spiky seed head that remains throughout the winter. It is so distinctive-looking that it is a favourite for winter gardens and flower arrangements. Even though the seed head is extremely prickly, it provides an important food source for birds in the winter, especially for goldfinches.
A Teasel Glowing in the Sun
The teasel has many different names including ‘brush and comb’, ‘Johnny prick the finger’, ‘Venus’s basin’ and ‘Fuller’s herb’.
The Romans named it ‘Venus’s basin’ because of the way that the leaves join the stem in such a way as they form a sort of basin which collects rainwater.
It has been called ‘Fuller’s herb’ because it was used by fullers, whose job it was to comb out wool.
The cultivated variety was used for many years in the textile industry to raise the nap on woollen cloth, such as cashmere. Wild teasel has straight spikes, but cultivated teasel has hooked spikes.
An ointment was made from the roots which was used for the treatment of warts.
Published in: Gardening