Common mullein - Verbascum thapsus L.
Verbascum thapsus L.
Scrophulariaceae - Figwort family
First year plant is a basal rosette. Second year rosette produces an erect flowering stem.
Rosette leaves are covered with dense hairs on both sides. They feel soft like wool. They are oblong and up to 15 inches long. Leaves on the second-year stems are also woolly but are much smaller than the rosette leaves. They lack petioles and are attached alternately on the stem. The upper leaf edges can be entire or bluntly toothed and decrease in size as the progress up the stem.
Stems are single, densely hairy, and mainly unbranched. On occasion the stem may branch and produce smaller flower spikes in addition to the main terminal spike. Stems can appear winged due to the leaf bases that run down the stem. Dead stems can persist for more than a year.
Flowers and fruit
The flower is a terminal spike. It is packed with flowers that have fused yellow petals with 5 lobes. They are saucer shaped and are less than 1 inch in diameter. The fruit is a rounded downy capsule that is about ¼ inch in diameter. The capsule is 2 celled and filled with numerous dark brown seeds. The seeds have wavy ridges.