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Verbascum thapsus

Common mullein flower.

Common mullein seeds resemble short corn cobs.

Common mullein young rosette.

  • 'Verbascum' was likely derived from 'barbascum', which is Latin meaning bearded plant.

  • 'Mullein' is from the Latin 'mollis' meaning soft.

  • Leaves of common mullein have been used as lamp wicks and Romans used plants dipped in fat as torches.

  • Leaves of common mullein were placed inside shoes for warmth.

  • Quaker women, forbidden to use makeup, rubbed the leaves on their cheeks to give the appearance of wearing rouge. The hairs on the leaf caused an allergic reaction to the skin, thus turning the skin red.

  • Common mullein leaves and flowers have been used medicinally to treat various ailments such as lung diseases, diarrhea, colic, migraines, earaches, coughs and colds.

  • Aristotle noted that fish were easier to catch after eating common mullein seeds, which contain a mild narcotic.

  • A yellow dye made from common mullein flowers was used by Roman women to color hair.