Ozarks Wildflowers: Mullein

Common Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, basal rosette

The first year Mullein produces a basal rosette. This picture was taken in early spring, so this coming summer this plant will flower.

Common mullein is just that. Common. You’ve seen this everywhere from old fields to vacant lots. It is an introduced plant, originally from Europe, and can sometimes spread heavily in disturbed, weedy areas.

Picture showing a field of Common Mullein taken near Table Rock Lake in the Piney Creek Wilderness

In an area that is often flooded by Table Rock Lake, a field is covered with basal rosettes of Common Mullein.

This familiar plant starts with a basal rosette of soft fuzzy grayish green leaves. As the season progresses by midsummer a flower spike begins to grow. The spike itself can easily reach 5 or 6 feet and is covered with smallish rather plain looking yellow flowers. The botanical name for this is Verbascum thapsus.

My father has a running joke that this plant is actually grown as sheep herder’s toilet paper. Of course my children find great delight in making the same joke. In reality, it would actually work quite well for that.

Velvety leaves of common mullein, a plant commonly found in the Ozarks.

Mullein has soft velvety leaves.

What do you think?