Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
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Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Table of Contents

Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 01
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 01)  The common mullein is quite noticeable because of it heavy structure, which grows to heights of seven feet.  It grows much like a corn stock, but this wild flower is a member of the Figwort family.  At the base of the mullein's stock is a rosette of large soft, hairy leaves.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 02
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 02)  The common mullein, sometimes called "great mullein" blooms from June through September, but only a few of its buds open at a time.  Furthermore, the common mullein only begins to bloom in the second year of its life.  During the first year, it produces only large woolly leaves.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 03
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 03)  This is another photo of the common mullein which shows how sparsely it produces flowers.  The common mullein grows throughout the United States.  There is only one other species of mullein, the moth mullein, which is smaller and produces flowers along its stem.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 04
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 04)  This is a bee's-eye view of the center of one of the common mullein's 3/4 inch flowers.  Each flower of the common mullein has 5 stamens and 1 pistil.  We are not sure what the hairy material in the center is.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 05
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 05)  In this photo we can see the entire 3/4 inch flower with its 5 petals with their tiny hairs, which are noticeable along their edges.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 05a
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 05a)  In this bee's-eye view of the common mullein's flower, we can more clearly see the hairs on the petals (lower-right).  In this photo, we can also see the open end (stigma) of the pistil.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 06
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 06)  This is the only common mullein that we have seen with multiple flower stocks.  These additional flower stocks are much shorter than the main flower stock.  The ancient Romans used to dip these common mullein stocks in fat or oil and use them for torches in funeral processions, and the ancient Greeks used the leaves as wicks.  The leaves of the common mullein had also been used as shoe liners, for making medicinal tea, and to add a medicinal quality to tobacco.  Women also used the leaves to rub their cheeks to bring out a natural glow without the use of make-up.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 07
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 07)  This photo gives us a little closer view of the additional flower stocks of this unusual common mullein.  Even though the common mullein may not be among the most beautiful of God's wildflowers, it is nevertheless worthy of our admiration; for just by its existence it reinforces our faith in our Creator God (Romans 1:20).
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08)  This is what a common mullein look like when it first begins to grow in the spring.  This one is growing up through a patch of bedstraw.  In the first year of its development, the common mullein only produces a rosette of fuzzy basal leaves, but the following year it also grows a stalk, as this one is beginning to do.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08a
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08a)  This is a closer look at one of the common mullein basal leaves.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08b
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 08b)  This is a closer look at the new growth of the common mullein as the stalk begins to grow.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 09
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 09)  Tom Nickolson sent us this and the following photo of an 8 foot tall common mullein that is growing in his back yard.
Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 10
(Mullein, Common (Verbascum thapsus) - 10)  This is another look at Tom Nickolson's common mullein.

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