We had a lot of plants which looked a little alien as they were growing and which grew by the back path outside of house and they steadily grew upwards.
They have now revealed themselves to be Teasels. I remember one solitary plant last autumn being along the path and having seeded itself it is now grown to about thirty of forty of them. They are at present bursting into flowers of pale lilac and pink and are wonderful to look at and as usual I investigated further and found that they used to be used in olden times to ‘tease’ cloth Teasels play a little known part in the manufacturing of many textile fabrics.
The stiff needle-like bracts which form just below the flowers in the head or
burr are used to raise the ‘nap’ or ‘pile’ of the cloth to produce desired finishes
on specific fabrics.
If you click on the link above you will find that they had a multitude of uses.
They stand taller than me and if you stand around long enough you see a huge variety of insects visiting them. I also know that lots of birds love their seeds, so in the autumn I hope that I am able to see them.