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Verbascum thapsus, Great Mullein


A very ornamental plant, it often self-sows, especially on dry calcareous soils. Frequently found wild on calcareous, free draining soils in rough grasslands and waste ground.

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers by boiling them in water.

An infusion of the flowers is sometimes used to dye the hair a golden colour.

Great mullein is a commonly used domestic herbal remedy, valued for its efficacy in the treatment of pectoral complaints.

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most well-drained soils, including dry ones, and prefers a sunny position. Dislikes shade and wet soils. Thrives on chalk. Prefers a light soil.

Sow late spring to early summer in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and plant them out in late summer. The seed has a long viability.

Source: Suffolk.

Edible Uses:

An aromatic, slightly bitter tea can be made by infusing the dried leaves in boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes. A sweeter tea can be made by infusing the fresh or dried flowers.


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