Verbascum thapsus

Common  Mullen Great Mullen

Names and Myths

Verbascum corruption of barbascum from the Latin barba, a beard.

thapsus mullen-like Mullen from Latin mollis meaning soft.

Natural history / Folklore

Biennial, native to Europe - believed to ward off evil - called Aaron’s Rod.  Seeds are a narcotic to fish.11The previous years flower stalk has been dipped in fat and used as a torch since Roman times.1

Flowers are sequentially unisexual, protogynous  the female organs developing before the male. Flower is open for a day and if cross fertilization does not occur when the flower closes at night the anthers are pushed against the stigma and self pollination (autogamy) occurs.9

Mullen has a long history of curative uses, when smoked in a pipe it was said to cure a cough, and a cough syrup cna be made from it.40,57


June - September - Large soft velvet basal  leaves, club-like flower stalks are actually racemes with 5 petal yellow flowers can grow too  2 meters in height. Flowers open sporadically along raceme until September.34

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