Scientific Name(s): Verbascum thapsus
Abundance: uncommon
What: leaves, flowers
How: both leaves and flowers as tea and smoked
Where: dry, sunny areas
When: summer, fall
Nutritional Value: medicinal
Other Uses: dried stalks used for fire drills, leaves used as lamp wicks,
Dangers: fine hairs on leaves can be an irritant. Do not consume seeds.

Medicinal Summary:
Flowers/Leaves/Stems - improves respiratory issues and inflammations; anti-inflammatory; antimicrobial; expectorant; soothes earaches (tisane, tincture, infused oil, smoked)

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged in a rosette at the base in the first year, and alternately on the stem in the second year.

Leaf Shape: The leaves are oblong to lanceolate, large, and can be up to 12 inches in length and 5 inches in width at the base, becoming smaller up the stem.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate, with a prominent central vein and several smaller veins branching out to the leaf edges.

Leaf Margin: The margins are entire, meaning they are smooth and not toothed.

Leaf Color: The leaves are a soft, gray-green color due to a dense covering of fine hairs.

Flower Structure: The 5-pointed flowers are small and densely packed in a tall, elongated spike at the top of the stem. Each flower is about 0.5 inches in diameter.

Flower Color: The flowers are usually bright yellow.

Fruit: The plant produces a small, round capsule as its fruit.

Seed: The seeds are tiny, numerous, and brown.

Stem: The stem is sturdy, erect, and can grow up to 2 to 8 feet tall. It is also covered in fine hairs.

Hairs: The plant is characterized by a thick layer of woolly hairs on both the stems and leaves.

Height: Verbascum thapsus typically reaches a height of 2 to 8 feet.

2nd-year Mullein plants.

2nd-year Mullein gone to flowering.

1st-year Mullein plant

Close-up of flowers


Close-up of leaves

Mullein root.

Dried mullein stalk.

Close-up of dried mullein flowers/stalk.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Mullein tea is made from the leaves of a 1st-year plant and is considered a good cough suppressant. A similar tea can be made from the root after cleaning, peeling, and dicing. Although the leaves feel soft and fuzzy they do not make good "wild" toilet paper as the small hairs can get stuck in your skin which is very uncomfortable.

The dried leaves were smoked to help with assorted head/chest sickness. The dried flowers have a pleasant flavor.

Avoid consuming the seeds as they contain Rotenone, a poisonous material that is particularly bad for fish and other plants.

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