Verbascum thapsus L. (Scrophulariaceae)
Colorado Dept. of Agriculture C List for Containment
Dig the rosettes or spray. Cut off flowering heads and Bag.
Aliases: Aaron’s rod, Adam’s flannel, beggar’s blanket, beggar’s flannel, beggar’s stalk, big taper, blanket herb, blanket leaf, bullock’s lungwort, candlewick plant, clot, clown’s lungwort, cow’s lungwort, cuddy’s lungs, devil’s-tobacco, duffle, feltwort, flannel leaf, flannel plant, fluffweed, golden rod, great mullein, hag’s taper, hare’s beard, hedge-taper, ice leaf, Jacob’s staff, Jupiter’s staff, lungwort, miner’s candle, mullein, mullein dock, old man’s flannel, Our Lady’s flannel, Quaker rouge, rag paper, shepherd’s club, shepherd’s staff, St. Peter’s staff, torches, torchwort, velvet dock, velvet plant, white man’s-footsteps, wild ice leaf, witch’s taper, woolen, wooly mullein.
Flowers/Fruit Has a flowering stalk (up to 20”). The 2 celled fruit contains many grooved seeds.
Flowers: Are sulfur yellow with five petals, about 3/4″ to 1-1/2″ diameter.
Bloom: June to August/September. Bloom a few at a time on the same stalk. Yellow flowers turn brown as seeds mature.
Stem: Unbranched can be up to 6 ‘ to 8’ tall.
Leaves: 1st year form basal rosette (up to 30” in diameter) and develop seedling leaves.
2nd yr. Leaves become large, (up to 1 ft. long), overlapping, oblong, hairy, alternate and whitish green which progressively get smaller up the stem.
Root: Shallow taproot along with a fibrous root system.
Reproduce: By Seed Only (100,000 to 250,000 seeds /plant). Takes 2 weeks to germinate.
Please do not cultivate this plant. Remove any dried stalks to reduce fire danger.
Seed Viable: Up to 100 yrs.
Mechanical Control: Cutting and Bagging (carefully) the flower stalk before going to seed. Hand Pull or dig entire plant (best when soil is moist) before flowers appear.
Sowing bare ground with early native grasses or other plants may decrease seed germination.
Herbicides must be applied before late flowering stage or seeds may still be produced. Rosette stage works best.
Interesting Facts: The plants were originally from Europe/Asia. The Europeans used the flowers for tea, and the leaves for many remedies like burns and rashes. Both the Europeans and the Indians smoked the dried leaves to treat bronchitis. Used as a fish poison. A methanol extract has been used as an insecticide for mosquito larvae. Mullein stalks were traditionally used as a cheap torch. Mullein is Latin for “soft”. Was used for lamp wicks before cheap cotton was available. Mullein oil used to naturally treat dog ear infections. Quaker women rubbed Mullein leaves on their cheeks to make them pink. Anyone using Mullein leaves as toilet paper found their cheeks pink as well.
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