Botany at 70 MPH

While driving on the highway Kelly and I often notice the lifeforms we are seeing on the

28 July 2013 Wyatt, MO

28 July 2013 Wyatt, MO

roadside. This weekend while on our way to some of Kelly’s plots we stopped in Mississippi County, MO near Wyatt to look at some Dipsacus (teasel) Kelly noticed on a previous trip. Sure enough, Dipsacus laciniatus was present in a few small patches along the road – yet another invasive weed for the Missouri Bootheel, as it’s presence has not yet been noted in that part of the state.

Back in 2008, Dylan Levy-Boyd and I found Dipsacus fullonum to be an important nectar source for butterflies in the South Hills of the Sawtooth National Forest (Fothergill and Levy-Boyd 2008). In Idaho Dipsacus was usually found on fairly oligotrophic soils. Shaw and Shackleton (2011) documented a reason that Dipsacus fullonum may be able to thrive in these soils – it is a carnivorous plant, trapping insects in its cup shaped leaves!

Dipsacus laciniatus, may not be able to catch insects with its different leaf structure, but then again maybe it can. Hopefully, I will have some time to observe the plant closer in the future.


Fothergill, K., and D. Levy-Boyd. 2008.  Interactions between butterflies (Lepidoptera: Rhopalocera) and plants (Spermatophyta: Magnoliophyta) in Cassia, Gooding, Minidoka, Oneida, and Twin Falls Counties, Idaho. Journal of the Idaho Academy of Science 44.2:11-28.

Shaw, P.J.A. and K. Shackleton. 2011. Carnivory in the Teasel Dipsacus fullonum — The Effect of Experimental Feeding on Growth and Seed Set. PLoS ONE 6.3: e17935. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017935


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