CWMA

PO Box 419

Hotchkiss, CO 81419

 

970-361-8262

fax: 720-880-3051


Email:contact@cwma.org

 

 

Moth mullein

Verbascum blattaria L.

 

Keys to Identification

  • Showy yellow to white flowers with purple centers.

This information courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program

 

Family: Figwort ( Scrophulariaceae)

 

Other Names: slippery mullein

 

USDA Code: VEBL

 

Legal Status: Colorado Noxious Weed List B

 

 

Identification

Lifecycle: Biennial

 

Growth form: Forb

 

Flower: Occur on the ends of the erect flowering stems that are produced during the second year of growth. Individual flowers are yellow to white, usually with some tinge of purple within. Flowers have 5 petals and each flower occurs on an individual flower stalk (peduncle).

 

Seeds/Fruit: A round capsule about 1/3 in wide. The capsule splits when mature into two cells filled with tiny dark brown seeds. The surface of each seed is marked with wavy ridges.

 

Leaves: Leaves initially develop as a basal rosette of leaves during the first year of growth and then occur alternately along the flowering stem during the second year of growth. Leaves are without hairs (glabrous), oblong, tapering to a point, with distinctly toothed margins.

 

Stems: Erect solitary (normally), or branching near the top, only slightly hairy in the upper portions, reaching 2-5 ft tall.

 

Roots: Taproot with fibrous root system.

 

Seedling: Cotyledons are spatula-shaped. First true leaves are oval with only slightly wavy margins. Subsequent leaves have more scalloped or toothed margins. Seedlings are very similar in appearance to common mullein but lack hairs.

 

 

Similar Species

Exotics: Other ornamental Verbascums

 

Natives: none

 

 

Impacts

Agricultural: Can be invasive in pastures and rangelands affecting forage quality and quantity. Moth mullein can occasionally be problematic in perennial cropping systems.

 

Ecological: Can be invasive in natural, rights-of-ways and neglected areas.

 

 

Habitat and Distribution

General requirements: Pastures, hay fields, rights-of-ways and abandoned areas preferring rich soils but will tolerate dry, sandy or gravely soils.

 

Distribution: Throughout the U.S. (excluding Alaska, Minnesota and Wyoming)

 

 

Biology/ Ecology

Life cycle: Biennial

 

Mode of reproduction: Seed

 

Seed production: 1000 capsules

 

Seed bank: 90 years

 

Dispersal: Birds are reported to feed on and potentially distribute seeds.

 

 

References

The Ohio State University (n.d.) Moth Mullein. Retrieved 11/04/2005 http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=760

 

USDA, NRCS. 2005. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA

 

Virginia Tech University. (n.d.) Moth Mullein: Verbascum blattaria. Retrieved 11/04/2005 http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/vesbl.htm

 

Whitson, T.D.(ed.), L.C. Burrill, S.A. Dewey, D.W. Cudney, B.E. Nelson, R.D. Lee, R. Parker. 1996. Moth mullien. Weeds of the West. Western Society of Weed Science, in cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services, Newark CA.

 

 

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