Scientific Name: Verbascum thapsus

Common Name: common mullein

Other Common Names: flannel-plant, great mullein, mullein, Quaker rogue, wild tobacco

Habit: This erect biennial, flowers from June through September with fruit present from October through March.

Leaves: At the base of the plant, the wooly leaves form a basal rosette. As the plant grows taller during the second year, the leaves grow alternately. The elliptic leaves have no petioles, and grow directly from the base of the stem. The leaves are largest at the base, and get smaller as you move up the stem. The densely hairy stems can reach 6 feet in height.

Identifying Characteristics: This plant can be identified by its hairy leaves with straight margins.

Flower Seed Head: The yellow flowers are densely clustered on a 20-inch long, cylindrical spike. Each 1-inch flower has 5 petals, hairy sepals with 5 lobes.

Seed Fruit: The seeds develop in an ovoid capsule that is divided into 2 cells. The capsules turn brown, splitting to release seeds, and remain on the stalk through winter.

Where Found: This plant can be found growing in forests, roadsides, and disturbed areas.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Scrophulariaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: whorled; rosette; alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval; round

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: serrated; wavy

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: white

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody; prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime

  • Flower symmetry: radial symetery; bilateral symetry

  • Root structure: fibrous; taproot

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf; none