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Common and cutleaf teasel

Quick facts

Common and cutleaf teasel are invasive species. 

  • Common teasel and cutleaf teasel both grow in sunny areas in both wet and dry conditions.

  • Often found growing in pastures, along roadsides and along creeks where floods are common.

  • Seeds can germinate in close proximity to parent plant, forming dense stands that choke out native vegetation.

Common and cutleaf teasel should be reported. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides detailed recommendations for reporting invasive species.

How to identify common and cutleaf teasel

  • Common and cutleaf teasel (Dipsacus fullonum and D. laciniatus) is a biennial, often confused with thistles.
  • Grows up to eight feet.
  • Flowers once before dying.


  • Hollow, covered in sharp spines.
  • Branches near the top, with each branch developing a flower head.


  • Rosettes will over-winter and stay green, with leaves that are tightly gathered, wrinkled, long and narrow.
  • Stem leaves are opposite, form a cup around the stem, and have spines on the underside.
  • Common teasel leaves are unlobed with a wavy margin.
  • The cutleaf teasel leaves are deeply lobed.


  • Small flowers pack into a dense, bristle-covered cone.
  • Common teasel flowers are light pink/lavender.
  • The flowers have long bracts that will start out at the base of the seed head and branch up and around the seed head.
  • Cutleaf teasel flowers are white with short bracts.
  • These short bracts do not reach up and over the seed head and generally remain flat.
  • Blooms June to October.


  • Grayish-brown, slightly hairy seeds remain dormant in soil for up to 5 years.
  • Large seed banks can develop from a single flowering plant.


  • Strong, deep taproots with fibrous secondary roots.
Stem leaves of Common and cutleaf teasel
Cutleaf teasel flowers



Angela Gupta, Extension educator; Amy Rager, Extension educator; Megan M. Weber, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2019

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