Friday, February 15, 2013

Common Mullein

Its formal name is Verbascum thapsus.  It's a transplant from Europe, brought over for its healing powers.

It pops up everywhere out here.   We find it along the roadsides, creeksides, barn sides, and even on the rocks where a bit of dirt might gather. It's not fussy.  It's tough and grows in the most unlikely places.

2000 years ago, Dioscorides recommended the plant as a curative for lung problems - coughs, colds and bronchitis.   It has been included in many official and national formularies.

Bigger plants stay green all winter here - a lovely sight in January when everything else is brown.  I love the silvery green. 

The flowering stalk gets about 5 feet tall and has small yellow flowers along it.   Rumor has it that the flowers are good as a natural dye.    I've never used it, since collecting them would be tedious and it would take a long time to get enough to dye much at all.

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