Known as Fuller’s Teasel, Venus’s Basin or Brushes and Combs, this biennial grows in most places. Rosettes of spined leaves form in the first year which collect the dew in discrete decorative drops (used to clear freckles and sooth the skin). In the second year, robust stems up to 2m are produced, densely spined, topped with heads of small purple flowers. The seed heads, spiney also, were used to straighten wool fibres before spinning(carding) and after weaving, to finish fabric with a fine pile e.g billiard table baize and hats.
Bees collect the nectar and Goldfinches feed on the seeds. The dried seeds heads are very decorative, left natural or spray painted.
Sow anytime of year. A pre-chill mixed with damp sand and stored in a fridge for 4 weeks might be beneficial to germination.
Poor well drained soil such as road verges is fine, and this plant looks equally at home on meadow edges, in hedge bottoms, at the back of borders in the garden or mixed with shrubs.
Seed from Shropshire