The Q&A Archives: Mullein Basic Information

Question: I live in Northern Arkansas and I would like to know more about the Mullein (Verbascum) plant. Here is what I do know:

This is a wild plant or weed that requires two yers to complete it's life cycle. In the first summer the wild plant or weed forms large, ground-hugging rosettes of leaves that last through winter. The upright flowering stems arise from the centers of these rosettes the following spring and bear their bright yellow blossoms, a few at a time, all summer long. This is a fascinating plant and because we have so many of them I would love to know more.

Thank you!
Angel Thomas

Answer: It seems that you know quite a bit! There are 300 species of Verbascum, some annual, biennial, perennial and small shrubs. It's also found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia.

In some places, mullein is considered a weed because it can be invasive. It grows in well-drained, dry soil in full sun and self-sows easily.

The flowers have been used to treat various respiratory problems since Classical times (coughs, congestion, and
tuberculosis), but there haven't been many research studies on its effectiveness. Verbascum is the Latin name that Pliny gave the plant. You can find more information on the medicinal uses in the book 'Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs', ISBN# 0-87857-699-1. Good luck with your research!

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