As long as I can remember there have been teasels growing wild in Cilwenen. As a child in Dinas, I used to walk down to Aberbach along the Cilwenen road and my aunt (who knew that if you wasted not you wanted not) used to find it difficult to walk past without picking some teasels to take home. As a needlewoman and a craftswoman, she never knew when a teasel or two might come in handy.
In fact teasels were used until relatively recently (and maybe they are still used by some perfectionists) for raising the nap on woollen cloth to make baize – useful for covering card tables and the doors that separate the family part of the house from the servants’ quarters.
For much more of interest on the subject of baize click here.
What I didn’t know until recently, because the plants grow inaccessibly in tangles of brambles, reeds and thorny bushes, is that teasels collect water in the cup-shaped space where the leaves branch out from the stems. These little pools act as barriers to sap-sucking insects and thus protect the plant from aphids and others. Any insects that drown in these little pools have been shown to nourish the plant and improve the number and quality of its seeds. Click here for more on this recent research.