In a Nutshell:
* Fuller's teasel (the cultivar group Dipsacus fullonum Sativus Group; syn. D. sativus) was formerly widely used in textile processing, providing a natural comb for cleaning, aligning and raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool.
* It differs from the wild type in having stouter, somewhat recurved spines on the seed heads. The dried flower heads were attached to spindles, wheels, or cylinders, sometimes called teasel frames, to raise the nap on fabrics (that is, to tease the fibres).
* By the 20th century, teasels had been largely replaced by metal cards, which can be made uniformly and do not require constant replacement as the teasel heads wear. However, some people who weave wool still prefer to use teasels for raising the nap, claiming that the result is better; in particular, if a teasel meets serious resistance in the fabric, it will break, whereas a metal tool will rip the cloth. more...
* Not known in a truly wild condition.
* The dried flower heads are used for carding wool and as a clothes brush for raising the nap on woollen cloth. They are harvested with about 20cm of stem as soon as the flowers wither and are dried for later use.
* The flowering heads are also much prized by flower arrangers because they keep their colour almost indefinitely when dried.
* The root is diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic. An infusion is said to strengthen the stomach, create an appetite, remove obstructions of the liver and treat jaundice. The root is harvested in early autumn and dried for later use.
* The plant has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer, an ointment made from the roots is used to treat warts, wens and whitlows. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of skin diseases.
* Fuller's teasel is occasionally cultivated for its seed head, which is used for carding cloth.
* A blue dye is obtained from the dried plant, an indigo substitute. It is water soluble. The colour is yellow when mixed with alum. more...