Ontario Wildflowers website

Common Mullein
Verbascum thapsus

Other common names: Mullein

Family: Figwort Family (Scrophulariaceae)

Group: Mulleins

Distinctive features: Tall thick stalk of pale yellow ragged-looking flowers. Fuzzy leaves.

Similar species:
  •   Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum)

  •   Moth Mullein (Verbascum blattaria)

Flowers: Summer;  Yellow;  5 parts (petals)

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas

Uses: Hand drills (for making fire) - for more info please visit the Wildwood Survival website, fire from handdrills section.

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 188    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 106    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 382   

Native/Non-native: Non-native

Status: Common, alien.

Photographs: 144 photographs available, of which 9 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Here's a whole Common Mullein plant. They like to grow in dry open fields.

Note the many large leaves.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Common Mullein is a biennial. This means that it takes two years to reach maturity.

This is a photo of a first-year plant.

The leaves are unique: rounded at the ends and very fuzzy.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

A view of the leaves along the stalk.

The leaves are very soft and pliable. These are Common Mullein's most distinctive feature. No other plant in Ontario has leaves like these.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Common Mullein flowers are yellow, and those in bloom are scattered along the main stalk.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Typical Common Mullein plant.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

This is a very fresh-looking plant, with a few closely-packed flowers.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

A nice closeup view of the flowers.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Note how the flowers sort of resemble those of Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum).

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Common Mullein stalks in a dry field in spring. These stalks are from second year plants that matured the previous summer.

Common Mullein is very useful for starting fires in a survival situation - they are used as a hand-drill. For more information on this, please visit the Wildwood Survival website, fire from handdrills section.

The leaves have also been used by some people as a remedy for respiratory infections.

Range map for Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)