This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Shepherd's Rod (Dipsacus pilosus, L.) - The habitat of this plant is moist hedges, banks, and shady places. The habit is erect. The stem is slender, rough, branched, leafy, and the ribs have short, soft, hair-pointed prickles. The leaves are stalked, with a pair of basal leaflets, the radical hairy, scalloped, the stem-leaves oblong, scalloped, toothed. The white florets form a hairy, rounded head, drooping in bud, longer than the involucre, the numerous linear, pointed, hairy bracts bent down. The scales of the receptacle are inversely egg-shaped, hooked, blunt - pointed. The invo-lucel, calyx-tube, and corolla are white, and very hairy. The plant is 2-4 ft. high, flowering in August and September, and is a herbaceous perennial or biennial.