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Toxic parts

The leaves contain rotenone and coumarin, though the quantities are not given[1]. Rotenone is used as an insecticide and coumarin can prevent the blood from clotting[K]. Hairs on the leaves can act as an irritant[1].

Edible uses


An aromatic, slightly bitter tea can be made by infusing the dried leaves in boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes[2]. A sweeter tea can be made by infusing the fresh or dried flowers[2].

Unknown part


Material uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers by boiling them in water[3]. When used with dilute sulphuric acid they produce a rather permanent green dye, this becomes brown with the addition of alkalis[3][4][5][6]. An infusion of the flowers is sometimes used to dye the hair a golden colour[3][7].

The flowering stems can be dipped in wax and used as torches[8][9][10]. The down on the leaves and stems makes an excellent tinder when quite dry[3][8][11]. It is also used as an insulation in shoes to keep the feet warm[3][7] and to make wicks for candle[12][3][4][5][11][10].

One report says that the leaves contain rotenone, though it does not say in what quantity[1]. Rotenone is used as an insecticide[K].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Great mullein is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy, valued for its efficacy in the treatment of pectoral complaints[3]. It acts by reducing the formation of mucus and stimulating the coughing up of phlegm, and is a specific treatment for tracheitis and bronchitis[13].

The leaves and the flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant and vulnerary[3][14][4][15][16][8][17][1]. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of chest complaints and also to treat diarrhoea[3][18]. The plant combines well with other expectorants such as coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris)[13]. Externally, a poultice of the leaves is a good healer of wounds and is also applied to ulcers, tumours and piles[3][1][13]. Any preparation made from the leaves needs to be carefully strained in order to remove the small hairs which can be an irritant[14]. The plant is harvested when in flower and is dried for later use[18]. An infusion of the flowers in olive oil is used as earache drops, or as a local application in the treatment of piles and other mucous membrane inflammations[3][1][18]. This infusion is also strongly bactericidal[3]. A decoction of the roots is said to alleviate toothache and also relieve cramps and convulsions[3]. The juice of the plant and powder made from the dried roots is said to quickly remove rough warts when rubbed on them[3]. It is not thought to be so useful for smooth warts[3]. The seeds are slightly narcotic and also contain saponins[3]. A poultice made from the seeds and leaves is used to draw out splinters[3]. A decoction of the seeds is used to soothe chilblains and chapped skin[14].

A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh leaves[3]. It is used in the treatment of long-standing headaches accompanied with oppression of the ear[3].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow late spring to early summer in a cold frame and only just cover the seed[7]. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and plant them out in late summer. The seed has a long viability[7].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Verbascum thapsus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most well-drained soils, including dry ones, and prefers a sunny position[7]. Dislikes shade and wet soils[7]. Thrives on chalk[7]. Prefers a light soil[7].

Hybridizes with other members of this genus, though the progeny are usually sterile[7].

A very ornamental plant, it often self-sows, especially on dry calcareous soils[8][10].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Verbascum thapsus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Verbascum thapsus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Verbascum thapsus
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

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"image:Starr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Starr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Starr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Starr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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  1. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  3. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  5. ? Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
  7. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  8. ? De. Bray. L. The Wild Garden. ()
  9. ? 9.09.1 Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-090-x (1975-00-00)
  10. ? RHS. The Garden. Volume 113. Royal Horticultural Society (1988-00-00)
  11. ? Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
  12. ? 12.012.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  13. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  14. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  18. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  19. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

"image:Starr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

Facts about "Verbascum thapsus"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyScrophulariaceae +
Belongs to genusVerbascum +
Has common nameGreat Mullein +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part +
Has edible useTea +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeSelf fertile +, Flies +, Lepidoptera + and Self +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone3 +
Has imageStarr 040723-0267 Verbascum thapsus.jpg +
Has lifecycle typeBiennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useDye +, Insecticide +, Insulation +, Lighting +, Tinder + and Wick +
Has mature height1.8 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAnodyne +, Antiseptic +, Astringent +, Demulcent +, Emollient +, Expectorant +, Homeopathy +, Narcotic +, Odontalgic + and Vulnerary +
Has primary imageStarr_040723-0267_Verbascum_thapsus.jpg +
Has search nameverbascum thapsus + and x +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameVerbascum thapsus +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +