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Monday, July 14, 2014

Common Mullein

 
I promised, and I'll deliver!

Common mullein is a coarse plant. You've probably seen it along roadsides even if you didn't know what it is. It's biennial, so in the first year a rosette of leaves appear. These are thick and velvety. I have a better picture somewhere, but can't find it. This one is more artsy, and has a nice spider too. These are seen in the spring of the plant's first year. These rosettes are often more than a foot in diameter.

photo label

The second year, the plant puts up a flowering stalk. They usually grow singly,

common mullein
But sometimes you'll see larger patches of them. It likes poor soil and full sun.

common mullein

The leaves on the stalk are interesting. They sort of flow into the stem and create wavy wings.

common mullein

The flowers aren't much to write home about. They are yellow, opening in rings around the flower head, never all at once. Sometimes they will open all the way, but more often they are closed even more than in this picture.

common mullein

Thapsus may come from the name of the city Thapsos in Sicily where this (or a similar plant) was collected in antiquity, or from Thapsus, a city in ancient Tunisia.

See Moth Mullein
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4 comments:

Ann said...

if it likes poor soil and full sun I'm surprised I've never seen it growing in my yard :)

Secondary Roads said...

It's one of the first non-garden plants my dad taught me to identify. They are kind of pretty, aren't they?

vanilla said...

Nice study of the mullein. I rather like to see a few of them around. I don't cultivate them, of course.

The Furry Gnome said...

We usually let one or two survive around the garden, and had a tall one last year in the. Order. Now I realize we have two dozen seedlings all along the path!

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