AppearanceThis plant is a perennial herb that may grow up to two to three meters in height. The erect, branching stem is hollow and prickly. The leaves are oppositely arranged, each leaf pair joined around the stem and clasping it, their bases forming a cup which often collects water. The species is monocarpic, living for multiple years but only flowering once before dying. The inflorescence is an egg-shaped head subtended by long bracts. The head may contain up to 1500 flowers. Blooming lasts one day. The middle of the head blooms first and then the upper and lower parts. The fruit is an achene just under a centimeter long. The plant reproduces only by seed. This teasel may be distinguished from its relative, common teasel by flower color and leaf shape. Cutleaf teasel has white flowers and deeply cut leaves, while common teasel has purple flowers and toothed or wavy-edged leaves.
HabitatCutleaf teasel is a weed in the United States, where it is most prevalent in the Midwest and northeastern states. It has been known in New York and Michigan since before 1900. It is now a dominant species in some areas, such as a tallgrass prairie in Illinois. It grows in a variety of habitat types, and does best on good soil; individuals growing on fertile soil reach large, robust sizes. The plants can also tolerate saline soils.
PredatorsThe mite ''Leipothrix dipsacivagus'' is being investigated as a possible agent of biological pest control for this plant.
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