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Dipsacus sativus - (L.)Honck.

Common Name Fuller's Teasel, Indian teasel
Family Dipsacaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild condition.
Range Of uncertain origin. An occasional escape from cultivation in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Dipsacus sativus Fuller

Dipsacus sativus Fuller


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Dipsacus sativus is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


D. fullonum sativus.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cancer  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Homeopathy  Stomachic  Warts

The root is diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic[7]. An infusion is said to strengthen the stomach, create an appetite, remove obstructions of the liver and treat jaundice[4]. The root is harvested in early autumn and dried for later use[7]. The plant has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer, an ointment made from the roots is used to treat warts, wens and whitlows[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant[7]. It is used in the treatment of skin diseases[7].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Brush  Dye

The dried flower heads are used for carding wool and as a clothes brush for raising the nap on woollen cloth[7, 46, 74, 169]. They are harvested with about 20cm of stem as soon as the flowers wither and are dried for later use[4]. A blue dye is obtained from the dried plant, an indigo substitute[74]. It is water soluble[74]. The colour is yellow when mixed with alum[148].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in most soils[1] but prefers clay[17]. Prefers a deep rich soil[169]. Requires a sunny position[169]. A good butterfly plant[24]. Fuller's teasel is occasionally cultivated for its seed head, which is used for carding cloth[1, 2, 46]. The flowering heads are also much prized by flower arrangers because they keep their colour almost indefinitely when dried[7].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in early spring in situ[115]. The seed can also be sown from February to May or from August to October. All but the earlier sowings can be made outdoors.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Indian teasel

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

England , Bulgaria , former Czechoslovakia, France, Germany , Spain , Italy , former Yugoslavia , Portugal , Romania , Crimea , Caucasus / Transcaucasus, C-Asia, Australia (South Australia, Zhejiang, Mexico , Bolivia , Ecuador , Chile , Colombia , Juan Fdz. Isl., Argentina, USA (California, New York , Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Noxious Weed Information: Iowa, US (teasel): Secondary noxious weed.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Dipsacus fullonumTeasel, Fuller's teaselBiennial/Perennial1.8 4-8  LMHNM022
Dipsacus japonicusXu DuanBiennial/Perennial0.8 -  LMHSNM12 
Dipsacus mitis Perennial1.0 -  LMHSNM10 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Alan S. Raistrick   Thu Jun 13 08:35:40 2002

I'm intrigued by you saying under Dipsacus sativus that it was used for carding wool. I've been back to the 12th century and I've not found any evidence of this. The actual textile use is for raising the nap on woollen cloth by fullers. The hooks on the flower heads make this possible. It seems a myth has arisen about carding because of possible misunderstandings of terminology. Apparently mediaeval latin writers forgot that the true fullers teasel was known as Dipsacus by the classical latin writers and started calling it Carduus, or thistle. If you actually have any evidence for this use other than a completely unsupported statement in Rita Buchanan's book [169] I'd love to hear about it.

Incidentally dear old Charley Linne got the name wrong and confused umpteen generations by calling the plant without hooks on its flowerhead Dipsacus fullonum, when it is quite useless for fullers

Barney Levy   Sun May 22 22:15:30 2005

I am researching the use of D.fullonum for california mission period carders. I am trying to see how they were made. Barney

Jürgen Weber   Sun Jun 22 2008

weberkarde und wilde Karden

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