€1,75 – €7,00
A biennial plant with yellow flowers, valued by beekeepers for its long flowering. It is a valuable source of pollen for wild pollinators. The great mullein needs to be sown in dry and sunny places.
Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
Polish name: small-flower mullein
Latin Name: Verbascum thapsus L.
Family: the figwort family Scrophulariaceae
Status in Poland: common, native
A large, biennial plant, less often a perennial, with shoots with variable shapes, tomentosed leaves, flowers clearly smaller than of other mulleins.
In great mullein single shoots erect, alternate spiral foliaged, orbicular in cross-section closer to the root, angular towards the inflorescences thick but shallow costal. Like many other mulleins, the great mullein develops four types of leaves on a stem. They are all hairy, slightly on top, more strongly below, with sumptuous, stellate hairs. The lower leaves with a strongly cordate base, sessile, lanceolate-ovate, or just ovate. The middle ones are acute ended, with short petioles. The upper ones are truncated, short-petioled or sessile, with a slightly cordate base, with a notched margin. Bracts equal to, or longer than pedicles, linear.
The flowers form from June to September, in the axils of bracts with the bractlets. They are five-parted, slightly pecnicate, golden with a reddish spot at the base. The mullein calyx is overgrown with a stellate tomentose, and the corolla is circular, bare, with five clearly visible maroon or purple stamens inside. The entire inflorescence in the form of a fairly dense raceme or pseudospike, in a few ornamental varieties more paniculate with costal stalks.
The fruit in the form of an elliptical capsule 4-5 mm long, divided into two parts. The seeds inconspicuous, very numerous, spread by the wind.
The great mullein grows on dry hills, on clearcut forest areas and rocks. It will cope well on sandy, gravel, and lime soils. It does not tolerate shading.
The great mullein has been sown since antiquity as a medicinal and cosmetic herb. However, it was never valued as an ornamental
In the past, torches were made of dried and then saturated with tallow or wax stems and used as candle wicks, or tinder. Fishes used to be poisoned with the seeds of this mullein. The oil of this plant soothed pain in muscles and nerves; the cream with great mullein smoothed out wrinkles; the infusion brightened the hair and restored its shine.
The plant is eagerly visited by honeybees and solitary bees. It provides pollen only for honey bees, but many beekeepers like it because of its long flowering time. It is useful in autumn as one of the few plants. In addition to pollen, the leafcutting bees collect hair from it, because they line the nests with them.