The teasel is a tall plant, often reaching the height of a person. They have thorns all the way up their stems and a cone-like flower head that gives the plant the impression of an oversized cottonbud.
The teasel is probably best-known for its brown, prickly stems and conical seed heads, which persist long after the plants themselves have died back for the winter. Between July and August, when teasels are in flower, the spiky flower heads are mostly green with rings of purple flowers.
Found in damp grassland and field edges, or on disturbed ground, such as roadside verges and waste grounds, they are visited by bees when in flower, and birds when seeding.
The flowers are tiny and purple, clustering together and appearing in rings up and down the flower head; the familiar seed heads turn brown in winter.
The long, tough and thorny leaves have no stem and form a cup around the thorny stem which collects rain water.
The dried heads of the plant were once used in the textile industry to raise the nap on woolen cloth. This died out as metal combs were introduced but it is said teasels are better as they damage the wool less.