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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Brian Klinkenberg     (Photo ID #21369)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Verbascum thapsus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
938 295 1943
Slope Gradient (%)
31 0 140

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

192 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and Range

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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia