The mulleins came over from Europe and grew readily in the American landscape. They are ornamental, but even though some of their clan have been civilized to the extent that they appear in nursery and seed catalogs and are planted in some of the best gardens, wild mulleins inevitably seem to be known as weeds.
Verbascum blattatia L.
June - July Uplands. pastures.
A moth mullein in an upland pasture may be as interesting as a moth mullein in a garden, and it has the added advantage, of being in its chosen haunt. The slim wand-like stems on which the moth mullein flowers are arranged bend in the upland wind but do not break; they have that quality of resilience which open country plants must have or suffer ruin. The leaves are dark green, deeply cut. alternate. The flowers take over the upper half of the stem and stand out from it. each on its own little stem well away from its neighbor. The buds are neatly divided in five parts with the five sepals making a star around the enclosed petals. The flower opens broadly with five rounded petals and a center whose stamens are thickly furred with long purple-red hairs. There are two kinds of wild moth mulleins, the yellow and the white, and the two seldom are found in the same fields. Both are fertilized by small moths which come in the twilight to seek the pale flowers of moth mullein. and sometimes the moths themselves are found asleep in the cupped flowers when the sun comes up next morning.
Moth mullein is a summer flower which blooms at its best in June. then sends up new flower stems later in the summer for a burst of secondary bloom. The dried stems and seed pods remain in the pastures and roadsides all winter long.