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Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Verbascum thapsus

Mullein, Common

Plant TypeForb
Life CycleAnnual
Flower Coloryellow
HabitatRoadsides, Hillsides, Disturbed areas.
DescriptionThis plant starts as a basal rosette of large very fuzzy gray-green leaves. The leaves are strong and very soft. Later in its life cycle it sends up a straight stalk with flower attached directly to it at the top. This stalk can become many feet tall and can persist well into the winter.
Utilitarian UsesThe old, dried stalks are excellent for hand-drill firemaking. The dried flower heads, dipped in a flammable liquid, can be used as a makeshift torch.
HabitatThis plant is usually fond of dry, often rocky, well-drained soil. Once I even saw a Mullein plant growing out of a crack in the diagonal-sloping rock wall of an abandoned military fort. I guess that was close enough to a dry rocky hillside for it.