Dipsacus laciniatus-Cutleaf Teasel

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-5.

Cutleaf Teasel

Dipsacus laciniatus

DIP-suh-kus  la-sin-ee-AY-tus

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 21 species in the Dipsacus genus (as of 5-12-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Caprifoliaceae with 33 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made by POWO.

Distribution map of Dipsacus laciniatus from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved on 2-12-20.

The above distribution map of Dipsacus laciniatus is from Plants of the World Online. The species is native in the green areas while purple areas are where it has been introduced. The red area is where it is believed to be extinct. The POWO map is not up to date but I included it because it shows where the species is native. POWO gets their data for their maps for North America from Flora of North America and they haven’t included the plant family Caprifoliaceae yet. POWO is supposed to start using data from the USDA later in 2021 for families not included on Flora of North America. 

Distribution map for Dipsacus laciniatus from the USDA Plants Database. Published on the internet at https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/home. Retrieved on May 11, 2021.

The above distribution map of Dipsacus laciniatus is from the USDA Plants Database. The species could have a wider distribution than the map shows. 

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations.


Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-6.

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 on my farm 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.

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-7.

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.

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-8.

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. In 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.

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-12-19, #600-9.

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.

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-16-19, #602-14.

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.

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel) on 7-16-19, #602-15.

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.

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 thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. I would enjoy hearing from you.


NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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