All along the roadside in Virginia the tall stalks of teasel are going to seed. This invasive European weed makes an excellent autumn decoration or even natural Christmas tree ornaments that can be gathered for free. Cut with long stems to create dried arrangements or just take the little seed heads to decorate and hang on the Christmas tree or to decorate a wreath. This is just one of the many remnants of summer growth that become our most affordable craft materials the rest of the year.
Fuller’s teasel is Dipsacus fullonum heads are prickly, and came to America with the fuller’s trade, which is the creation of felt from wool. The unique spines shown above were first used to raise the nap on wool felt. It was also used to card wool by pioneer women but was later replaced by manufactured wool cards which are much like a cat hair brush designed to align fibers prior to spinning. It is so vigorous it escaped early into New England wildlands and then followed settlers westward. It is unwise to plant teasel in the garden because it self sows like wildfire and spiny stems make it more difficult to pull.