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
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.
Exotics: Other ornamental Verbascums
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)
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.
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.