The versatile, fuzzy mullein is a gardener’s friend, a herbalist’s delight and an engineering marvel all on its own. A member of the snapdragon family, mullein has flowers that are flat and open, unlike the irregular “dragon faces” of snapdragons. Within the Scrophulariaceae family, the genus Verbascum species are native to Europe, West and Central Asia, and North Africa. Tall, stout biennials with large leaves and flowers in long terminal spikes. The species best-known among herbalists is the homely but useful common mullein, V. thapsus.
First-year plants form a rosette of large, velvety leaves up to 1 foot long. In the second year, a velvety flower spike grows to 8 feet tall. It is widely used for herbal remedies, with well-established emollient and astringent properties.
Other Names: candlewick plant hag taper, lady's candle, Bouillon Blanc, Flannelleaf, Flannelplant, Verbasco, Tasso barbasso, Barbasso