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Verbascum thapsus

Verbascum thapsus L.

 

Common Mullein

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyScrophulariaceaeThe figwort family (named for the resemblence of root nodes of some species to tubercular human lymph nodes, or scrophula)
GenusVerbascumA corruption of the Latin Barbascum, the name for these plants
Speciesthapsus“Of or from Thapsus,” (now Tunisia)

About plant names...

Common mullein is a native of Europe, Africa, and Asia; it was introduced to the Americas in the mid-1700s, and to Australia. At least in America, it spreads quickly, displacing local species, and is considered an invasive plant.

Identification: Common mullein goes through a two-year growth cycle. In the first year, the plant has low-growing rosettes of leaves (photo 18). Leaves are bluish-grayish and soft with tiny hairs. In the second year, it shoots upward, producing a single, erect flower stalk covered with tiny yellow flowers about ¼" (6.3 mm) across. Each flower has five petals. Leaves along the stalk are wide at the bottom and tapering toward the top, giving the plant a cone-shaped appearance. Dead stalks persist for some time.

Medical: At various points in the past, mullein has been used for the contradictory-appearing uses of a fish poison, a “respiratory stimulant,” a cough medicine, a cure for diarrhea, and an insecticide for developing mosquitoes.

Online References:

Verbascum thapsus on Wikipedia

Verbascum thapsus on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Verbascum thapsus at Illinois Wildflowers

Verbascum thapsus on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Verbascum thapsus on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Verbascum thapsus on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Verbascum thapsus on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Verbascum thapsus on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Verbascum thapsus on eFloras

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

1 · 8/28/2014 · Eagle Nest Lake, Eagle Nest, NM · By Susan M. Kent

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

2 · 5/6/2011 · Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center, Chester, MD
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

3 · 8/30/2014 · NM
≈ 10 × 12" (25 × 31 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

4 · 9/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 5" (9.2 × 13 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

5 · 8/28/2014 · Eagle Nest Lake, Eagle Nest, NM

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

6 · 7/20/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 4½" (8.6 × 11 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

7 · 9/3/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm)

Verbascum thapsus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 23 Sep 2013.

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Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

8 · 8/5/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

9 · 8/28/2014 · Eagle Nest Lake, Eagle Nest, NM · By Susan M. Kent

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

10 · 8/7/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.8 × 6.6 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

11 · 9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 28 × 39" (71 × 97 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

12 · 9/25/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 31 × 46" (78 × 117 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

13 · 8/4/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 22 × 33" (56 × 84 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

14 · 5/19/2016 · Bemis Road Trails, Pepperell, MA

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

15 · 8/4/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 3½" (6.2 × 9.3 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

16 · 8/30/2014 · NM
≈ 31 × 47" (79 × 119 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

17 · 9/14/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 27 × 38" (68 × 96 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

18 · 4/6/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 17 × 14" (42 × 34 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

19 · 8/30/2014 · NM
≈ 14 × 12" (34 × 31 cm)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

20 · 8/29/2007 · Hagelstein Park, Upper Klamath Lake, OR
≈ 7 × 10' (2.1 × 3.2 m)

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

21 · During the first year of growth, the leaves remain close to the ground. · 4/15/1979 · VA · By Tim Chandler

Verbascum thapsus (Common Mullein)

22 · 7/3/2005 · Bedford, NH

Range:

About this map...