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Is this a teaser?

 
Marshal
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No, it isn't; it's a teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), a common wild plant round here, which we tolerate a few of in the garden because of their “architectural” characteristics. If you look it up on  Wikipedia, you will see it has blue/lilac flowers in Summer, which start flowering at the top of the head and open downwards forming a band of blue. In winter, the local goldfinch come and eat the seeds.

Oddly enough, my local teasel has decided to do the same thing for the last four weeks or so, only this time the band isn't its usual blue, but green.

Anybody ever seen this before? It looks as if the rain had got at the seeds in the head and they had germinated.
TeaselSprouting2019-12-07.jpg
[Thumbnail for TeaselSprouting2019-12-07.jpg]
Teeasel plant on 7th December 2019
 
Marshal
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I would have called that a thistle, but after checking a bit, I found that while teasel and thistle may look alike, but are not the same.

http://www.botanicalaccuracy.com/2014/01/teasels-tousled-with-thistles.html wrote:So, can you tell teasels and thistles apart? Thistles have many (involucral) bracts below the flower head that form a cup below the flowers.  In teasels, there are just a few long bracts that stick out below the flower head.  The teasels have lots of sharp parts in the actual flower head, so the flower head looks like a spiny ball the whole season. In thistles, the bracts below the flower stays, but there are no persistent spiny parts inside among the flowers themselves.  The fruits, which are little nut-like, single-seeded achenes have a feathery pappus for wind-dispersal in thistles, but are naked in teasels.

 
Campbell Ritchie
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No, teasels are related to Scabiosa (scabious/sheep's bit/devil's bit, etc.), and less closely to the woodbine/honeysuckle (Lonicera).
Thistles are more closely related to the daisy. A thistle has one flower head with many florets in; a teasel has a head with many small flowers separated from one another. The pappus mentioned in your quote makes the former thistle flower head look white and woolly. The seeds (thistledown) float about in the wind and they will happily grow much more prolifically than any teasel.

Teasels have leaves which completely encircle their stems, collecting rainwater. We sometimes find gnat (Culex) larvae in that water; fortunately we don't seem to have nasty mosquitoes (Anopheles etc.) round here. They plants retain their shape after they die. The heads were traditionally used like combs for teasing fleeces before spinning the wool. But I bet they didn't sprout little green leaves whilst teasing the wool.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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So as to bump this thre‍ad: has anybody seen seeds sprouting in situ like that elsewhere?
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Went to an RHS event yesterday at Harrogate and asked about it. The phenomenon is called vivipary and it is well recognised in teasel. It is thought it might be a survival strategy; if the seeds germinate and sprout in situ, they are less likely to be eaten by anything. There are a flock of goldfinches round here, which only become obvious in winter, and they pick the seeds out of teasel heads.
 
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love teasel for cut flowers and the 1st year root makes a great tea
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Welcome to the Ranch
How long do the flowers keep after cutting? The dried heads also make good cut “flowers”, which keep almost forever, but they should have navigation lights round them in case you blunder into the plant in the dark.
I haven't seen a goldfinch for weeks, but in January they appear in little flocks (about six or eight) (beautiful little birds) once daily, and pick seeds out of plants, the teasel apparently being their favourite. Have you ever seen vivipary in teasel?
I never knew you could eat/drink teasel. How do you make the tea? What does it taste like? Do you have the same plant as us? Round here the teasel is a biennial, so there is only a first year anything.
 
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Those things look WEIRD! So weird that I had to go and find pictures of them in bloom--they're even weirder!

picture of Teasel from Dave's Garden



I don't think I've ever seen anything like that in the Pacific Northwest, but it could be I just never noticed them. Maybe people plant it on purpose for flower decorating, or just because they like it? I've never seen them growing wild, but that doesn't mean they don't!
 
Campbell Ritchie
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We never tolerate as many as that; we prefer not to take up the topology of the pepper‑pot. Yes, it is normal for the flowers to bloom at the top of the head first, so the blue or lilac band gradually moves downwards on its head.
The things grow as weeds here, and we have never felt an urge to plant teasels. They can appear quite happily without any assistance of ours! They grow anything up to 8′ (~2.5m) tall, and have such a striking appearance that you would have noticed them if you had seen them.
Have you seen vivipary before?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Oh yes, I've seen vivipary, though I didn't know it was called that. I had a tomato that had the seeds sprouting inside it. They were just little tiny sprouts. But, man, google images for vivipary sure is disturbing. :shudder:
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Yes, Wikipedia mentions vivipary in tomatoes; I think it also says the seedlings are edible
 
ray bunbury
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Welcome to the Ranch
How long do the flowers keep after cutting? The dried heads also make good cut “flowers”, which keep almost forever, but they should have navigation lights round them in case you blunder into the plant in the dark.
I haven't seen a goldfinch for weeks, but in January they appear in little flocks (about six or eight) (beautiful little birds) once daily, and pick seeds out of plants, the teasel apparently being their favourite. Have you ever seen vivipary in teasel?
I never knew you could eat/drink teasel. How do you make the tea? What does it taste like? Do you have the same plant as us? Round here the teasel is a biennial, so there is only a first year anything.



without seeds growing, flowers keep 5+ years

with seeds growing, flowers keep not at all.

teasel is used to make wool cloth before wire making was industrial.  Very strong and sharp.

Tea tastes bitter but good for circulation and lyme
 
Campbell Ritchie
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ray bunbury wrote:. . . flowers keep 5+ years . . .

The blue/lilac flowers? I shall have to try covering a few heads with bags to stop pollinators and see how long I can keep them for. Yes, the heads were used for carding/teasing wool, and I always thought that was the origin of the plant's name. Yes, my 1978 edition COD thinks that is the reason, too. It also suggests teazel and teazle as alternative spellings.
 
ray bunbury
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The dry flower head is what lasts.  Used for cut flower arangments.  or used to be.  Not so fashionable now.

 
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