Verbascum thapsus - Common Mullein, Woolly Mullein, Flannel Leaf, Velvet Dock


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Mullein's felt-like leaves have been an old friend of mine for a long time.

A velvety-leaved plant whose leaves feels like felt. Has a tightly packed single spike (1 - 5') of yellow flowers which rises from a thick, woolly rosette of basal leaves with a diameter up to 2 feet.

June to September

Common along roadsides and railroad tracks, pastures and old fields, and waste places.



The flowers are from 3/4" to 1" with 5 petals and is almost regular (slightly ovate). They also mature at different times up the stalk. The leaves on the stalk are smaller and stemless.

Mullein was introduced from Europe and has found a nice niche along with man who loves to modify his surroundings. Fallow fields and re-worked roadsides are a favorite place for this plant to pop up. Because Mullein is tolerant of dry, rocky soil it also seems to crop up along railroad tracks alot too.

The velvety leaves and flower stalks have found many purposes. Dipped in tallow or grease the dried stalks have been used for torches, and the leaves still used as wicks. Reportedly, American Indians lined their moccassins with the leaves to insulate against cold and white colonists used them inside their stockings for the same purpose.

A tea made from the leaves was used to treat colds in Appalachia, and in other places the leaf tea was considered good for dysentery. The leaves were smoked for asthma and sore throat by some American Indians and other groups boiled the roots for a mixture to treat children with croup.

The leaves are soothing for mucous membranes and have been used to soften the skin and protect it.

The flowers contain an oil that has been used for earache.


My observations about this plant can be found at:

Mullein Award - I've chosen mullein to be the name and picture for websites that display uncommon natural individuality and style.


If you're interested