teasel, common name for some members of the Dipsacaceae, a family of chiefly Old World herbs found mostly in the Mediterranean and Balkan areas but ranging to India and to S Africa. Species of Dipsacus and Scabiosa have become widely naturalized in America. Scabiosa, commonly called sweet scabious, mourning bride, or pincushion flower (for its head of small, lacy flowers) includes several ornamentals and was formerly used as a remedy for the itch (scabies). Fuller's teasel ( D. fullonum ) is a noxious biennial weed whose heads of small flowers bear sharp prongs have been used in the textile industry for teasing or raising the nap on wool. Teasels are often used in everlasting bouquets. Teasels are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Dipsacales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.