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Mullein Seeds

Mullein Seeds

Mullein Seeds

I shoot a few of these seeds on top of a patch of wild roses. The plant roots grow through the mullein, and in a few weeks there's a small blue flower on the end. I keep the flowers on the mantle above the fireplace and they remind me of the vitality that a little kind gesture can do. It's a somewhat morbid pleasure.Verbascum thapsus can often be found growing in open fields, along roadsides, and in other disturbed areas. Mullein does especially well in areas with well-draining soil and direct sunlight. A member of the Scrophulariaceae family, it has large light green, soft foliage similar in appearance to lamb’s ear. The leaves and flowers are collected and used fresh or dried.

Mullein

This plant, also known as wooly mullein, is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial with a deep tap root. In the first year plants are low-growing rosettes of felt-like leaves. The whorl of leaves emerge from the root crown at the soil surface. The bluish gray-green, oblong to lanceolate leaves are 4-12″ long and 1-5″ wide, and are densely covered in hairs. Vernalization (exposure to cold temperatures) is required to induce flowering the following spring.Mullein is well adapted to cottage, gravel, and rock gardens. In its function as a pioneer plant, it loves to protect and cover disturbed soil. The first year, this biennial will create a short basal rosette of thick, soft, pale-green leaves that are sometimes called “cowboy toilet paper” or “flannel leaf”. The second year it will send up a tall stalk of abundant dense flowers unique to this V. densiflorum variety of mullein.

The first-year leaves have been traditionally used dried as an infusion for lung issues, and the second-year flowers for ear aches.In midsummer, the tall flower stalks of common mullein, Verbascum thapsus, begin to poke up, making this common weed in the family Scrophulariaceae highly noticeable in the road cuts and waste areas where it thrives. Native to Europe, northern Africa and Asia, it was probably introduced to North America several times as a medicinal herb. In the mid‑1700’s it was used in Virginia as a piscicide (fish poison). It spread rapidly and had become so well established by 1818 that a flora of the East Coast at that time described it as a native. It had reached the Midwest by 1839 and became widely naturalized on the Pacific Coast by 1876. Today common mullein is distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada wherever the growing season is at least 140 days and rainfall is sufficient (50-150 cm), especially on dry sandy soils. (Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu)

 

 

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