Scientific Name: Verbascum blattaria

Common Name: moth mullein

Habit: A biennial that is closely related to common mullein but lacks hairs and has leaves with toothed margins. Moth mullein is primarily a weed of pastures, hay fields, roadsides, rights-of-ways, and abandoned areas.

Leaves: Leaves initially develop as a basal rosette of leaves during the first year of growth and then occur alternately along the flowering stem during the second year of growth. Leaves are without hairs (glabrous), oblong in outline, tapering to a point, with distinctly toothed margins.

Identifying Characteristics: The rosette growth habit, hairless leaves with toothed margins, and yellow and purple or white and purple flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of moth mullein. Common Mullein (<a href='../../weedimg/603'>Verbascum thapsus</a>) is closely related to moth mullein but is generally much larger with woolly foliage and stems. Additionally, common mullein has a terminal cluster of yellow flowers that do not occur on peduncles, whereas moth mullein has yellow to white flowers with purple tinges that do occur on peduncles.

Flower Seed Head: Occur on the ends of the erect flowering stems that are produced during the second year of growth. Individual flowers are yellow to white in color, usually with some tinge of purple within. Flowers consist of 5 petals and each flower occurs on an individual flower stalk (peduncle).

Seed Fruit: A round capsule.

Where Found: It is distributed throughout the United States.

  • Life cycle: biennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Scrophulariaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rosette; alternate;

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval; spatulate; round;

  • Leaf margin: entire; serrated;

  • Stem hairs: no hairs; has hairs;

  • Flower color: orange; yellow; white;

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody; prostrate and nonwoody;

  • Stem: round or oval;

  • Leaf structure: simple;

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs;

  • Root structure: taproot; fibrous;

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symmetry; radial symmetry;

  • Flower diameter: quarter; half dollar; larger;

  • Leaf stalk: none; shorter than leaf;