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Common Mullein

Scientific Name:

Verbascum thapsus


Herbaceous Plant


Disturbed areas, among a variety of others


Native to Eurasia; widespread across North America


No listed status

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Common mullein are biennial plants, meaning they last for two years. They are recognizable by their dense, woolly green leaves and tall, yellow flowering stalks. When not flowering, mullein grow close to the ground, but when flowering they can be 5 to 10 feet tall. Common mullein bloom between June and September.

Fast Facts:

  • Native to Eurasia, common mullein was first introduced to North America in the 1700s as a fish poison.

  • One common name of mullein is pioneer toilet paper since mullein has soft leaves which are perfect for when you have to go on the go.

  • Mullein is a great survival plant since its leaves have soft hairs that are great tinder that easily catch fire. Mullein stalks can also be used as a hand drill for starting the fire.

  • One of the first references to mullein was in Homer’s Odyssey where Ulysses was given mullein by the gods to protect him from Circe.

  • During funeral processions in ancient Rome, mullein stalks were used as candlesticks after dipping the stalks into tallow.

  • Mullein leaves and flowers have been used medicinally in teas for the treatment of respiratory ailments such as asthma and chest infections.



Haley McGuire (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

April 23, 2021 at 8:36:18 PM

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