There are several teasel species present in the state of Indiana (Dipsacus lacinatus, and D. fullonum or sylvestris). I call them both non-native, invasive species (see post titled “Native or Not”). They all over the state, and the Midwest for that matter. I regularly see this species while driving around whether I am conducting research or simply casually traveling. Birds eat the seeds and spread the seeds in their droppings; seeds are also transported on mower decks.
Teasels are biennial plants (similar to garlic mustard) but the rosettes are quite large and can be very easy to find as they can grow large in size. It seems that the plant is common on roadsides and abandoned lands with bare ground created by some level of disturbance. It is very similar in regards to places and growth habits as the biennial thistle species such as musk and bull thistle. Also, they can be quite similar in regards to a single species colony as Canada thistle or even poison hemlock. I personally think it is a neat looking plant having been planted around the US and I have seen it portrayed in several art pieces with a goldfinch present and the flower stalk is commonly used for flower arrangements. Would I plant it or try to propagate it? No, I would not plant it as I have been in too many areas where it becomes a dominant force and chokes out other vegetation. On the other hand, it is quite easy to control as there are many selective herbicides that are quite effective.
Common Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
Steve Dewey, Utah State University, Bugwood.org
For more information on Cutleaf Teasel:
by Glenn Nice
Purdue Extension Weed Science
Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University
by John Cardina, Cathy Herms, Tim Koch and Ted Webster
Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide, Ohio State University
For more information on herbicide selection:
Indiana Select-A-Herbicide for Non-Crops
Extension Weed Science
Botany and Plant Pathology