Moth mullein2017-08-10T17:15:10+00:00

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 known.

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.

Back to Weed List