Verbascum thapsus L.
Synonym(s): big taper, flannel mullein, flannel plant, great mullein, mullein, velvet dock, velvet plant, woolly mullein

Common mullein is a biennial forb native to Eurasia and Africa. Plants are unbranched and can grow to more than 6.6 ft. (2 m) tall. First year plants develop as a basal rosette of felt-like leaves. Basal leaves are 4-12 in. (10.2-30.5 cm) long, 1-5 in. (2.5-12.7 cm) wide and covered with woolly hairs. The plant bolts in the second year. Flowering occurs in June to August, when five-petaled, yellow flowers develop at the apex of the shoot. Cauline (stem) leaves are decurrent, alternate and decrease in size towards the apex. The fruit is a ovoid capsule that splits releasing many seeds that germinate in water. Common mullein was introduced to North America in the mid-1700s as a fish poison.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources