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Wavyleaf Mullein (Verbascum sinuatum)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Verbascum

See text

The Mulleins (Verbascum) are a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). They are native to Europe and Asia, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region.

They are biennial or perennial plants, rarely annuals or subshrubs, growing to 0.5-3 m tall. The plants first form a dense rosette of leaves at ground level, subsequently sending up a tall flowering stem. The leaves are spirally arranged, often densely hairy, though glabrous (hairless) in some species. The flowers have five symmetrical petals; petal colours in different species include yellow (most common), orange, red-brown, purple, blue or white. The fruit is a capsule containing numerous minute seeds.

Selected species
  • Verbascum acaule (Bory & Chaub.) Kuntze
  • Verbascum adeliae Heldr.
  • Verbascum adenanthum Bornm.
  • Verbascum adrianopolitanum Podp.
  • Verbascum anisophylum Murb.
  • Verbascum arcturus L.
  • Verbascum argenteum Ten.
  • Verbascum baldaccii Degen
  • Verbascum banaticum Schrad.
  • Verbascum barnadesii Vahl
  • Verbascum bithynicum Boiss.
  • Verbascum blattaria L. - Moth mullein
  • Verbascum boerhavii L.
  • Verbascum boissieri (Heldr. & Sart.) Kuntze
  • Verbascum botuliforme Murb.
  • Verbascum bombyciferum Boiss.
  • Verbascum bugulifolium Lam.
  • Verbascum chaixii Vill. - Nettle-leaved mullein
  • Verbascum charidemii Murb.
  • Verbascum chinense (L.) Santapau
  • Verbascum chrysanthum Murb.
  • Verbascum creticum (L.) Cav.
  • Verbascum cylindrocarpum Griseb.
  • Verbascum cyleneum (Boiss. & Heldr. ) Kuntze
  • Verbascum daenzeri (Fauché & Chaub.) Kuntze
  • Verbascum davidoffii Murb.
  • Verbascum decorum Velen.
  • Verbascum delphicum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum densiflorum Bertol.
  • Verbascum dentifolium Delile
  • Verbascum dieckianum Borbás & Degen
  • Verbascum dimoniei Velen.
  • Verbascum dingleri Mattf. & Stef.
  • Verbascum dumulosum P.H.Davis
  • Verbascum durmitoreum Rohlena
  • Verbascum epixanthinum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum eriophorum Godr.
  • Verbascum euboicum Murb. & Rech.f.
  • Verbascum foetidum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum formosum Fisch. ex Schrank
  • Verbascum friedrichsthalianum Kuntze
  • Verbascum georgicum Benth.
  • Verbascum glabratum Friv.
  • Verbascum glandulosum Delile
  • Verbascum gnaphalodes M.Bieb.
  • Verbascum graecum Heldr. & Sart. ex Boiss.
  • Verbascum guicciardii Heldr. ex Boiss.
  • Verbascum halacsyanum Sint. & Bornm. ex Halácsy
  • Verbascum haussknechtii Heldr. ex Hausskn.
  • Verbascum hervieri Degen
  • Verbascum herzogii Bornm.
  • Verbascum humile Janka
  • Verbascum hypoleucum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum jankaeanum Pancic
  • Verbascum laciniatum (Poir.) Kuntze
  • Verbascum lagurus Fisch. & C.A.Mey.
  • Verbascum lanatum Schrad.
  • Verbascum lasianthum Boiss. ex Benth.
  • Verbascum leianthum Benth.
  • Verbascum leucophylum Griseb.
  • Verbascum levanticum I.K.Ferguson
  • Verbascum litigiosum Samp.
  • Verbascum longifolium Ten.
  • Verbascum lychnitis L. - White mullein
  • Verbascum macedonicum Kosanin & Murb.
  • Verbascum macrurum Ten.
  • Verbascum malophorum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum mucronatum Lam.
  • Verbascum nevadense Boiss.
  • Verbascum nicolai Rohlena
  • Verbascum nigrum L. - Dark mullein
  • Verbascum niveum Ten.
  • Verbascum nobile Velen.
  • Verbascum gypsicola Vural & Aydoğdu
  • Verbascum olympicum Boiss.
  • Verbascum orientale (L.) Al.
  • Verbascum orphanideum Murb.
  • Verbascum ovalifolium Donn ex Sims
  • Verbascum paniculatum Wulf.
  • Verbascum pelium Halácsy
  • Verbascum pentelicum Murb.
  • Verbascum pestalozzae Murb.
  • Verbascum phlomoides L. - Orange mullein
  • Verbascum phoeniceum L. - Purple mullein
  • Verbascum pinnatifidum Vahl
  • Verbascum pseudonobile Stoj. & Stef.
  • Verbascum pulverulentum Vill. - Hoary mullein
  • Verbascum purpureum (Janka) Hub.-Mor.
  • Verbascum pycnostachyum Boiss. & Heldr.
  • Verbascum pyramidatum M.Bieb.
  • Verbascum reiseri Halácsy
  • Verbascum roripifolium (Halácsy) I.K.Ferguson
  • Verbascum rotundifolium Ten.
  • Verbascum rupestre (Davidov) I.K.Ferguson
  • Verbascum samniticum Ten.
  • Verbascum scardicola Bornm.
  • Verbascum siculum Tod. ex Lojac.
  • Verbascum sinuatum L. - Wavyleaf mullein
  • Verbascum songaricum Schrenk
  • Verbascum speciosum Schrad. - Showy mullein
  • Verbascum spectabile M.Bieb.
  • Verbascum spinosum L.
  • Verbascum thapsus L. - Great mullein
  • Verbascum undulatum Lam.
  • Verbascum vandasii (Rohlena) Rohlena
  • Verbascum virgatum Stokes - Twiggy mullein
  • Verbascum viridissimum Stoj. & Stef.
  • Verbascum widemannianum Fisch. & Mey.
  • Verbascum xanthophoeniceum Griseb.
  • Verbascum zuccarinii (Boiss.) I.K.Ferguson

Cultivation and uses

  Various species have been introduced (and in some case naturalised) in the Americas, Australia and Hawaii.

Since the year 2000 a number of new hybrid cultivars have come out that have increased flower size with shorter heights and tend to be longer lived plants. A number have new colors for this genus. Many are raised from seed, both the short lived perennial and biennial types. In the landscape they are valued for their tall narrow stature and for flowering over a long period of time, even in dry soils.

One of the best known species is Verbascum thapsus (Great mullein), which is used as a herbal remedy for sore throat, cough and lung diseases.

Mullein is also the active ingredient in many alternative smoking blends.

Herbalists recommend mullein leaves as one of the safest and most useful herbal lung tonics. The leaves have an expectorant and soothing action on the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Take mullein for easing the symptoms of asthma, chronic bronchitis, dry coughs, and laryngitis. Mullein is also a useful lymphatic cleanser, and you may find it effective for helping to relieve skin problems like psoriasis. Use the flower oil in your ears for inflammation, earaches, and infections of the Eustachian tubes, inner ear, and ear canal. See your doctor or herbalist if you have an ear infection.


  • Flora Europaea: Verbascum
  • Flora of China: Verbascum
  • Davis, P. H., Edmondson, J. R., Mill, R. R., & Parris, B. S., eds. (1978). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 6: 461.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mullein". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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