Teasel Surprise

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Steve McDonald, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Steve McDonald

    Steve McDonald Member

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    Recently, near Eugene, Oregon, I found a patch of teasels doing something I've never seen before. Instead of dropping to the ground, their seeds have sprouted and are growing in the seed heads, many feet off the ground. They look like so many Chia Pets. I wonder if this is a result of extra-high rains and warmer conditions? I'm going to look around the area soon and see if this is happening elsewhere. Is it possible if I break off a few heads and put them on or under a bit of soil, these sprouts will be able to grow? Not that there's any shortage of teasels here.

    Steve McDonald
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, due to warm, wet conditions.

    They probably would grow on OK if you cut the head off and put it on the ground, though probably only one or two would grow to flowering size, the rest would get crowded out. Whether one should do so is another matter, I seem to remember teasel is listed as an invasive alien in the US, so it might be best not to let them grow on.
     
  3. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    iNVASIVE?? I think it depends on where you are but it definitely does well in northern areas than in southern areas. I love this plant and grow it in my yard and in pots. In this area I have only seen a couple of solitary plants up near Cal Poly SLO. It is mostly a weed in drainge ditches from what I saw in No. Cal. Cannot really say if it constitutes any competitive threat to any natives.
    What I find interesting about it is that it is a bienniel and that it produces a fairly woody stem, which along with Oenothera hookeri, interests me in any possibility as use for low grade pulp for the paper industry.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Interesting idea, but I suspect the yield per hectare would be far too low to be commercially viable. It is very light-demanding and never grows at high density.
     
  5. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    It would have to be field grown.
    Too bad it has not been cultivated to discover any genetic
    sports that might yield a plant that would provide a good yield
    per acre. (Oenothera may be in this position.) Another thought is using the seeds in producing oil. I am wondering what kind of nutritional supplements can be produced with teasel seed, if any? Or would there be any other kind of use as in terms of a natural lubricant?
    Cosmetic base? Feed? Or ??
     

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  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  7. terrestrial_man

    terrestrial_man Active Member 10 Years

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    Glad to hear that goldfinches enjoy teasel seed. While years ago I used to be visited yearly by lesser, lawrence, and american goldfinches that came to feed on Oenothera hookeri seed now there seems to be only one small group of lawrence goldfinches that drop by.

    I forgot about Cannabis as a pulp producer. But your comment reminded me of an image of a cannabis field in Afghanistan that had plants that were like 12 or more feet tall!!!
     
  8. Gordon in PDX

    Gordon in PDX Member

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    Reviving an old thread

    Hello!
    Years later I too have discovered a huge number of teasels in the Pacific NW that seem to be sprouting from the dead seed heads. I came across this old thread while looking for information regarding this seemingly rare phenomenon and was wondering if anyone can shed more light on this. In particular I'm wondering if these are actually teasel sprouts or if they are some other plant whose seeds have colonized the dead teasel seed heads. The pictures below were taken recently at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge near Vancouver, Washington. There are large fields of teasel there and most all of them seem to be sprouting. Thanks for the help!
     

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  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  10. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Nice to have a name for that.

    Andrey Zharkikh posted a photo on flickr of a tomato with sprouts protruding from its skin. You can see in the neighbouring photo that's happening with at least four of the tomatoes in the package of six. [edited: the Wikipedia article does make it clear that you would not really call it vivipary when it's an abnormal occurrence like this].
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, they are; it is so highly improbable that any other seeds would be able to reach that location in that density as to be impossible.

    I think this one would fit the comment there "the seeds can be found already germinated while the fruit goes overripe; strictly speaking this condition cannot be described as vivipary". Those seedlings are not going to survive with no soil access, so it is an evolutionary dead-end.

    I wonder if US native birds have not yet evolved the ability to take the seeds? Here, Golfinches (Carduelis carduelis) take the seeds avidly, and also drop a lot accidentally; those dropped seeds would have a good chance on survival.
     
  12. Gordon in PDX

    Gordon in PDX Member

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    What about airborne seeds from neighboring teasels? Seems a possibility given their form factor:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikfoz/3933312303/

    The American Goldfinch is said to be common at this refuge in spring and summer, but rare in fall and winter. They'll eat teasel seeds but I don't know if we had a normal migration of them come through this year.
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Those are actually thistle seeds in that Flickr pic. Teasel seeds don't have any pappus like that. Had there been a thistle population nearby, one could expect an odd one or two seeds to lodge in the teasel heads, but not the hundreds as in your pics.
     
  14. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Michael, I don't understand. You say they're thistle seeds. But the plant they're growing on is a teasel? And you don't think it possible that some other plant could have colonized this one from the outside to this extent?
     
  15. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Looks rather scary! Looks like they could start growing in my stomach, too! One more reason to grow and eat only my own!

    No matter how do I store my tomatoes, and I store them for months, since the middle of September when I have to pick them all because of the start of the frost season, to the middle of December or longer, nothing like that ever happened to them!

    No, I am not telling the truth, it matters how do I store them; I do not use chemicals, I don't use plastic, I don't use irradiation, I don't use whatever else could be used I haven't heard about. I store them naturally!

    Could you, Andrey, post the picture here, as well, for everybody to see?
     
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The plant in the Flickr pic is a thistle, misidentified as a teasel. I'm not referring here to the pics on this thread.

    No.
     
  17. Andrey Zharkikh

    Andrey Zharkikh Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here they are. If the tomatos hit the ground as it happens in nature, the sprouts would have a chance to root with readily available moisture.
     

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  18. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    So it is simply a new scientific discovery to make gardeners life easier?
     
  19. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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  20. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I find it disturbing to look esp at the food plants - no reason - just strange

    So does it count if the potatoes forgotten in the cool storage start sprouting (chitting) ?
     
  21. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I will answer, knowing nothing about this, that it does not count because the potatoes are roots, not fruits. They are supposed to sprout.
     
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  22. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I encountered this curiosity only once, about 30 years ago when a tomato sitting on the countertop seemed to get more and more firm as the days went by.

    It should have begun to rot by the time I finally sliced it open and discovered that it was full of sprouting seeds!

    If, as @Michael F says, "the seeds can be found already germinated while the fruit goes overripe; strictly speaking this condition cannot be described as vivipary", is there another word to describe this phenomenon?
     
  23. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Margot - how about

    Vivi Over Ripary ? :)

    (Remember when the radio had contests like « wanted words » ... maybe Arthur black show?)

    I have experienced a farm tomato (ie grown by neighbor) like the one Margot describes.
     
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  24. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I like your sense of humour @Georgia Strait.
     

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