Synonym: Dipsacus microcephalus Martrin-Donos
Dipsacus laciniatus L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Cutleaf Teasel. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists 28 species in the Dipsacus genus (as of when I am updating this page on 3-15-20. There were 21 on 2-12-20.). It is a member of the Caprifoliaceae Family which incudes 28 genera. Those numbers are likely to continue to change.
The above distribution map of Dipsacus laciniatus from Plants of the World Online show where the species in native in green and where it has been introduced in purple.
The above distribution map of Dipsacus laciniatus for North America is from the USDA Plants Database. It is quite different than what POWO says but someday the updates will take effect.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading and to help with a positive ID.
I don’t have any of these plants growing on the farm in Windsor, Missouri, which is in Pettis County. Henry County is across the street but when reporting sightings I have to use Pettis County as my location. However, these photos were taken on a friend’s farm in Johnson County which is maybe around 12 miles away from where I live. Dipsacus laciniatus, the Cut-Leaf Teasel, is one of the many species I don’t remember as a kid or even that much after I moved back to the family farm in 2013. As I became more interested in wildflower ID, I noticed several colonies of these plants growing in ditches along the highways and the colonies are spreading.
Each flower stem produces a single flower head that is approximately 2-4” long x 1 1/2” in diameter. (5-10 cm x 2-4 cm). Each head produced several hundred flowers that have long, narrow bracts, 2-4”, that are sharply pointed. The heads start flowering in the center, then in both directions.
The lanceolate or narrowly ovate leaves grow about 4” wide x 1” long, are pinnately lobed and toothed. Plants do not flower their first season. The second season one or more flowering stalks grow from the rosette and reach 2-6 feet tall. The clasping leaves growing from the stems are smaller than the basal leaves. The strong stems can be round or angular, have hooked to straight prickles, and branch out toward the top.
Plants in the above photo were in another area in a ditch along the highway. They must have been first season plants because they produced no flowers in 2019.
This European native has spread aggressively wherever it has been introduced displacing many native species. They are a neat looking plant but once established they can become quite invasive.
The seed heads are great in dried arrangements but make sure to shake the dried heads well in the trash can so they won’t accidentally come up somewhere.
I will try to get some better photos in 2020.
Be sure to check out the links below for further reading and more technical ID information.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you.