Verbascum thapsus

Verbascum thapsus_common mullein_flower JM Di Tomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: woolly mullein; common mullein; lungwort; feltwort; torches; Jacob's staff; velvetplant; old man's flannel; miner's candle

Verbascum thapsus (common mullein, woolly mullein) is a biennial or annual forb (family Scrophulariaceae) that occurs throughout California, but is particularly abundant in dry valleys on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. High population densities have been observed in moist meadows and creek drainages near Mono Lake and Owens Valley. Common mullein is a host for insects that are themselves economic pests. Common mullein seeds can survive for 35 years or more in the soil.

Cal-IPC Rating: Limited?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

There are no newsletter articles associated with this species yet.

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Verbascum thapsus Information

  • Bugwood - National database from the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.
  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Verbascum thapsus_flower_SteveMatson
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) flower. Photo: Steve Matson
    Verbascum thapsus_seed_JeanPawek
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) seed. Photo: Jean Pawek
    Verbascum thapsus_seedling_BelindaLo
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) seedling. Photo: Belinda Lo
    Verbascum thapsus_trichomes on leaf underside_ZoyaAkulova
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) trichomes on leaf underside. Photo: Zoya Akulova
    Verbascum thapsus_inflorescence_copyright2009_NealKramer
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) inflorescence. Photo: © 2009 Neal Kramer
    Verbascum thapsus_growth habit_JulieKierstead
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) growth habit. Photo: Julie Kierstead
    Verbascum thapsus_infestation_copyright2007_NealKramer
    Verbascum thapsus (woolly mullein) infestation. Photo: © 2007 Neal Kramer