E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Verbascum thapsus L.
great mullein (common mullein)
Scrophulariaceae (Butterfly-bush family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21369)

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Distribution of Verbascum thapsus
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Species Information

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Robust biennial herb from a taproot; stems single, erect, 0.5-2 m tall; stem, leaves and inflorescence densely woolly with star-shaped or forking-branched, felted hairs.
Basal leaves in a rosette, broadly lanceolate, 10-45 cm long, tapering to a stalked base, vaguely round-toothed to entire; stem leaves numerous, alternate, progressively reduced upward, becoming unstalked, with clasping leaf-bases decurrent along the stem.
Inflorescence a dense, bracted, spike-like, terminal cluster, 10-50 cm long, of numerous very short-stalked flowers; corollas yellow, wheel-shaped, 1.5-3 cm across, 5-lobed, the lobes nearly equal, concave, the tube very short; calyces 5-12 mm long, hairy, deeply 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate; stamens 5, the 3 upper filaments white- or yellow-long-hairy, the 2 lower filaments longer, smooth or nearly so.
Capsules, broadly egg-shaped, 7-10 mm long, woolly; seeds numerous, longitudinally ridged.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides, gravel pits, fields and waste places; common in S BC north to 53degreeN, rare north to 55degreeN; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Verbascum thapsus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 295 938 1943
Slope Gradient (%) 0 31 140
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 192 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(32), ESSF(12), ICH(18), IDF(177), MS(25), PP(62)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References