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Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon Family)

Foothills, montane. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Haviland Lake Trail, July 23, 2005.

Mullein along roadsides in the United States is about as common as roadsides in the United States.  Everyone knows Mulleinís basal, long, fuzzy, rabbit-ear leaves.  Many clumps of these leaves often surround old, dried, contorted Mullein flower stalks -- the previous yearís parents who died making seeds. Mullein flowers are quite small, bright yellow, with only a few blooming at a time, dying, and then being overshadowed by a few new flowers blooming as the flower stalk elongates.

"Verbascum" (probably a corruption of Barbascum) is an ancient Latin name used by Pliny for some member of this genus, and "thapsus" probably refers to the city of Thapsos in ancient Greece.  Linnaeus named this large genus (abut 250 species through Europe and Asia) and this species in 1753.

Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon Family)

Foothills, montane. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Haviland Lake, July 12, 2007.

This may be classified as a "noxious weed" in some states, but that has nothing to do with the beauty of the flower.

Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon Family)

Foothills, montane. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Haviland Lake Trail, July 1, 2005.

A wet spring produces 20 inch leaves.

Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon Family)

Foothills, montane. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Haviland Lake Trail, July 1, 2005.

Leaves are deeply veined and very softly hairy.  The emerging flower stalk is top center enclosed in leaves.

Verbascum thapsus
Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Snapdragon Family)

Foothills, montane. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, March 20, 2007.

Dried stalks, single or with multiple heads, usually remain standing for a year.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Verbascum thapsus