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Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Perennial Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

General: Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is an invasive biennial forb. It is upright with large basal leaves and produces one tall, dense flowering spike to about 6-feet tall (flowering spike sometimes fork into two or more). The leaves are large and light gray-green, densely covered with woolly hairs. The flowers are yellow.

Common Mullein is an invasive weed. Around Las Vegas, this species is becoming fairly common along roadways up on Mt. Charleston, and some can be found in Cabin Canyon in Gold Butte National Monument. We usually leave mountain wildflowers flowers alone, but let's all work to make sure this plant stays uncommon.

Family: Figwort (Scrophulariaceae).

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Other Names: big taper, candle-wick.

Plant Form: Upright, large-leaved forb with a tall flowering stalk.

Height: To about 6 feet.

Stems: Upright, unbranched.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Leaves: Leaves gray-green, densely covered with woolly, stellate hairs. Different lower and upper leaves. Lower leaves to about 10 inches, oblong, lobed, with petiole. Upper leaves lanceolate, to about 5 inches, not lobed, sessile, and with with leaf base extending down the stem as a wing for a short distance.

Flowers: Sessile on stalk. Radial, deeply 5-lobed. Upper 3 lobes shorter than lower 2 lobes.

Seeds: Produce inside 2-chambered, densely woolly capsule; seeds brown, resembling a tiny ear of corn.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Habitat: Roadsides and disturbed, open sites in the mountains.

Elevation: To about 7,000 feet.

Distribution: Native to Eurasia, introduced weed throughout North America.

Comments: Reproduces by seed. Not very suspectable to herbicides due to the dense hairy leaves, but digging up the root crown prevents flowering. Seeds can linger in the soil at least 35 years.

For More Information: DiTomaso, J.M., and E.A. Healy. 2007. Weeds of California and other Western States. University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication 3488. 2 Vol. ISBN 978-1-879906-69-3.

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Flowers and developing seed capsules
Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Upper three stamen stalks covered with hairs; lower two without hairs

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 180220

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