All Things Gardening forum: this weed just became useful. :) Common Mullein

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Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jun 16, 2016 9:40 AM CST
I have this plant growing in my yard: https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/common-mullein

I've always just tried to keep pulling it out and mowing it. It started growing in the field near me and it turns out, in its second year of growing, the thing bolts - and it for SERIOUS bolts. It sends up a thick stalk about 5-8 feet high. The stalk is light weight and TOUGH. It lasts over winter and become something like a thick, velvety, woody bamboo stalk. I cut them all and cut off the dried seed heads (make excellent fire starters!) and clean the fuzzy dead leaves... and free bamboo stalks for my garden vines!

It is kind of exciting to realize you have something so useful just growing in your yard on its own.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jun 17, 2016 4:15 PM CST
We have those things all over the place, too -- I'll have to give a try to using the stalks, Robyn! Thumbs up
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Jun 18, 2016 10:02 AM CST
Way to go Robyn recycling at it's best using what already grows in your area! I don't have them growing around here that I have ever seen except possibly in roadside ditch areas.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Jun 18, 2016 1:01 PM CST
The stalks make great torches and if caught unexpectedly in the woods the soft leaves make great toilet paper.
My grandparents (farmers) used mullen to treat mastitis in their milk cow
All in all a very useful plant
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: ursula
Chile (Zone 9b)
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Mutisia
Jun 18, 2016 7:09 PM CST
Mullein is used here to treat lung diseases.
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Jun 20, 2016 8:27 PM CST
I had one pop up on the edge the veggie garden at my folk's old farm. A few others on on a creek bank adjacent to the garden.

Diurnal (?) and biennial if I'm not mistaken? Love at first sight! I can appreciate a weed, er, "wildflower". I moved one to a sun/shade location it never reappeared in and gifted some smaller ones out and one old friend still has several. He does occasionally weed seedlings, anything unwanted and clearly enjoys it more than I did. "Common" is a common word and I don't notice Mullein very often. Odd as I'm always outdoors and rural. As a stand-alone specimen I think it's neat.

Had no idea it was a torch and toilet paper too!

When in need, good to know! Thumbs up
Name: Gary
Wyoming MN (Zone 4a)
hostasmore
Jun 20, 2016 8:40 PM CST
If I am not mistaken, it is also a favorite finch food. I often see them clinging to the stems.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Jun 23, 2016 6:23 AM CST
I usually have/allow a couple of the rosettes somewhere in my yard. The rosettes are beautiful when mist or raindrops decorate them. I have seen the finches on the seed stalks too. I never tried to use the stalks as stakes though- good idea! The species is not American native.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Manoflowers Yarrow
Williamsburg NY. (Zone 7a)
Manoflowers
Jul 3, 2016 9:12 PM CST
The first American pilgrims brought Mullein
To the new shores
A popular medicinal plant
Part of the medicine chest at that time
Verbascum
Manoflowers
Name: Manoflowers Yarrow
Williamsburg NY. (Zone 7a)
Manoflowers
Jul 3, 2016 9:18 PM CST
Also i recently found out this interesting fact
The moment a weed is found to be useful it stops being a weed
A weed is anything we dont want growing !
Manoflowers
Name: ursula
Chile (Zone 9b)
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Mutisia
Jul 4, 2016 5:40 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA, Manoflowers! Welcome!
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Jul 9, 2016 6:34 AM CST
Just saw this herb growing alongside a field the other day and my husband asked what it was. I said I had just read about it here on NGA, so was glad to be able to tell him what it was. Had to find this thread first to find the name though, lol!

Welcome! manoflowers! I think it is very interesting that we find 'weeds' so offensive, yet so many of them have wonderful uses. That's why I have the phrase below my name here.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jul 9, 2016 7:32 AM CST
I just spent this morning out in a field collecting these.
Hurray!
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Jul 9, 2016 3:02 PM CST
For what use?
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Jul 9, 2016 5:39 PM CST
I bet they would even hold up a tomato vine! Which I could use about now.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
[Last edited by blue23rose - Jul 9, 2016 5:40 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1207049 (15)
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jul 9, 2016 5:59 PM CST
gardengus said:For what use?


Well, for starters, they are kinda pretty, in a "corn stalk" sort of way


But beyond that, I clean them off and use them as trellis or stake materials. They are great for staking up bolted plants so I can collect seeds. I have them as part of my make shift pea and bean trellis. I also can use them to secure netting in places. They are very strong, they likely would work for tomatoes, though maybe use more than one there.

They are also great for backyard fires.

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