We have over 100,000 visitors each month, but in the whole of 2013 less than £1,000 was raised from donations. We rely on donations and cannot continue to maintain our database and website unless this increases considerably in 2014. Please make a donation today. More information on our financial position >>>
Search Page Content
   Bookmark and Share
   
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

Verbascum_thapsus - L.                
                 
Common Name Great Mullein
Family Scrophulariaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards The leaves contain rotenone and coumarin, though the quantities are not given[222]. Rotenone is used as an insecticide and coumarin can prevent the blood from clotting[K]. Hairs on the leaves can act as an irritant[222].
Habitats Sunny positions in uncultivated fields and waste ground, especially on dry soils[7, 13, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain, temperate Asia to China.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Verbascum_thapsus is a BIENNIAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Verbascum_thapsus Great Mullein


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Verbascum_thapsus Great Mullein
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:4028mdk09
   
Habitats       
Edible Uses                                         
An aromatic, slightly bitter tea can be made by infusing the dried leaves in boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes[183]. A sweeter tea can be made by infusing the fresh or dried flowers[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Great mullein is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy, valued for its efficacy in the treatment of pectoral complaints[4]. It acts by reducing the formation of mucus and stimulating the coughing up of phlegm, and is a specific treatment for tracheitis and bronchitis[254]. The leaves and the flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and vulnerary[4, 7, 13, 21, 46, 53, 165, 222]. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of chest complaints and also to treat diarrhoea[4, 238]. The plant combines well with other expectorants such as coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris)[254]. Externally, a poultice of the leaves is a good healer of wounds and is also applied to ulcers, tumours and piles[4, 222, 254]. Any preparation made from the leaves needs to be carefully strained in order to remove the small hairs which can be an irritant[7]. The plant is harvested when in flower and is dried for later use[238]. An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is used as earache drops, or as a local application in the treatment of piles and other mucous membrane inflammations[4, 222, 238]. This infusion is also strongly bactericidal[4]. A decoction of the roots is said to alleviate toothache and also relieve cramps and convulsions[4]. The juice of the plant and powder made from the dried roots is said to quickly remove rough warts when rubbed on them[4]. It is not thought to be so useful for smooth warts[4]. The seeds are slightly narcotic and also contain saponins[4]. A poultice made from the seeds and leaves is used to draw out splinters[4]. A decoction of the seeds is used to soothe chilblains and chapped skin[7]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves[4]. It is used in the treatment of long-standing headaches accompanied with oppression of the ear[4].
Other Uses
A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers by boiling them in water[4]. When used with dilute sulphuric acid they produce a rather permanent green dye, this becomes brown with the addition of alkalis[4, 13, 100, 168]. An infusion of the flowers is sometimes used to dye the hair a golden colour[4, 200]. The flowering stems can be dipped in wax and used as torches[53, 106, 124]. The down on the leaves and stems makes an excellent tinder when quite dry[4, 53, 115]. It is also used as an insulation in shoes to keep the feet warm[4, 200] and to make wicks for candle[1, 4, 13, 100, 115, 124]. One report says that the leaves contain rotenone, though it does not say in what quantity[222]. Rotenone is used as an insecticide[K].
Cultivation details                                         
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most well-drained soils, including dry ones, and prefers a sunny position[200]. Dislikes shade and wet soils[200]. Thrives on chalk[200]. Prefers a light soil[200]. Hybridizes with other members of this genus, though the progeny are usually sterile[200]. A very ornamental plant, it often self-sows, especially on dry calcareous soils[53, 124].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow late spring to early summer in a cold frame and only just cover the seed[200]. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and plant them out in late summer. The seed has a long viability[200].
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[53]De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden.
Interesting reading.
[100]Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[124]RHS. The Garden. Volume 113.
Snippets of information from the magazine of the RHS, including details on Podophyllum, Canna and Protea species.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Robert Gergulics Sat Apr 11 2009
Photos Here. Photorobg.com

www.photorobg.com

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
     
                                                                                 
Add a comment/link                                         

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Verbascum_thapsus  
             

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site
Details