The European Teasel was brought to Oregon in the 19th century. It is a hugely invasive plant that has a habit of taking over large areas of the prairie. The reason it was brought here was to provide teasels for the carding of wool. The dried teasels would be mounted in a large machines and raw wool would be ran over them to straighten out the fibers and soften up the wool. the wool would later be turned into wool blankets, like those originally produced at the Mission Mill in Salem, and Pendleton Woolen mills. There may be other uses but I cannot imagine what they may be. Perhaps the teasel is nice in some forms of dried flower arrangements? Today, the teasels are not part of the production of blankets yet the invasive plants remain. The teasels first erupt in early summer and have a nice bright shock of purple flower. By September the teasels are well dried up and if many can be a fire hazard. Many of them in one location can close off fields for trail hikers.
Don’t make the mistake of venturing into a teasel field in shorts, like I did this summer. It took some 20 minutes to get through the teasel area, and 10 minutes in I realized I was trapped and had to just continue. You can see the narrow path in some images below, with teasels infilling the path. They are quite painful.
Teasels join Himalayan Blackberries, Canadian Thistles, and other sticker plants in being hugely invasive in our public parks and should be eradicated.
Photos of my teasel adventures are below, they are quite beautiful in the late afternoon light, the teasels pick up light in a halo pattern. There are two large teasel sections of the large central field where the Osprey nest is at Minto-Brown Island Park.