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Berlin! meet your weeds! this week: Teasel: a meat eating Thistle?

Above: Teasel

As part 3 of this exciting series on weeds you can meet right now in Berlin I introduce you to the magic of Teasel (Dipsacus Fullonum) A POTENTIALLY MEAT EATING THISTLE!

But first I need to get something off my mind. Have you noticed that Berlin has been over taken by Blattläuse this Spring? (otherwise known as aphids, green fly or black fly)

These guys are plant vampires sucking the sap out of your plants

are you experiencing these on your balcony? the best way to deal with them is to spray off with a hose. Usually they sort themselves out with the arrival of predators such as lady bugs and hover flies

Above: who is the real Lady bug here?

I am seeing more aphids than ever before this year. Probably the wet Spring has encouraged soft plant growth with lots of plant juices in it and the aphids love to suck sap out of this type of soft growth.

And now it's time to...

meet your weeds!

Teasel: what kind of a name is that? what is a Teasel? what is it good for? does it really eat meat? get none of the answers to any of those questions in this 46 second video in which I just make jokes about its name:

But you can find the answers to those questions here instead...

Teasel is a tall plant in the huge family of daisy. Daisy like flowers that look nothing like daisies. Isn't it cool that this huge family also contains lettuce?

a family gathering of this clade would be vast and have nothing in common.

Teasel is a Biennial. This means in its first year it grows leaves and in its second year it flowers and dies. The genus name Dipsacus comes from the Latin word for thirst and refers to the spider-like formation of leaves at the base of the seed head. Spider-like in maybe more than appearance as research by THESE CLEVER GUYS investigates the potentiality that Teasel feeds off the nutrients from decaying insects that drown in the water collected at the base of these spidery leaves.

Is it a...


Or this this just click bait?

Back to Teasel facts:

Teasel looks stately and a little exotic but is actually a very common cold hardy Northern European plant. You might meet it by the side of the road or in dry patches of waste ground.

It's a useful weed for birds in Autumn who eat the seeds. In particular the Goldfinch. The Gold finch usually travels in pairs and you can see them in Late Summer hanging off the seed heads of Teasel singing softly and eating. Like this guy:

Above: Gold finch

The English name Teasel comes from the history of the plant in textile production- this spiky seed was used to comb out wool before the use of metal combs became standard in wool processing.

Teasel is considered an invasive weed in America as it was introduced by colonists and takes over vast areas of land to the exclusion of more delicate species.

But I have decided to love it.

Especially now I have discovered it might be a MEAT EATING THISTLE.

If you have any garden queries or meat eating thistles in your garden get in touch, I am am your expat gardener.

Until next time,


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