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    Vascular Plants of California
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Verbascum thapsus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ScrophulariaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to tree, generally glandular, some +- aquatic. Stem: round to square in ×-section. Leaf: simple, generally alternate, generally +- entire; stipules generally 0 (present in Limosella). Inflorescence: spike to panicle (head-like), generally bracted, or flowers 1--4 in axils. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx lobes 4--5; corolla bilateral to radial, lobes 4--5; stamens epipetalous, 4--5, 5th a staminode in Scrophularia; pistil 1, ovary superior, chambers generally 2, placentas axile, style 1, stigma lobes generally 2. Fruit: capsule, generally +- ovoid, loculicidal or septicidal, or drupe-like.
Genera In Family: +- 65 genera, 1700 species: +- worldwide; some cultivated as ornamental (Verbascum). Note: Other taxa moved to Plantaginaceae (Antirrhinum, Bacopa, Collinsia, Cymbalaria, Digitalis, Dopatrium, Gambelia, Gratiola, Hebe, Holmgrenanthe, Keckiella, Kickxia, Limnophila, Linaria, Lindernia, Maurandella, Mohavea, Nothochelone, Penstemon, Pseudorontium, Stemodia, Synthyris, Tonella, Veronica), Orobanchaceae (Bellardia, Castilleja, Cordylanthus, Orthocarpus, Parentucellia, Pedicularis, Triphysaria), Phrymaceae (Mimulus).
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: VerbascumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: MULLEIN
Habit: [Annual] biennial, rosette large. Stem: erect, simple or branched just proximal to inflorescence. Leaf: basal and cauline, alternate, distal reduced. Inflorescence: raceme or panicle, bracted. Flower: calyx +- radial, deeply 5-lobed; corolla +- radial, +- rotate, 5-lobed; stamens 5, lower 2 filaments > upper 3, all or only upper hairy; stigma +- spheric. Fruit: capsule, septicidal. Seed: small, wingless, many.
Species In Genus: +- 360 species: Eurasia. Etymology: (Latin: from root for bearded)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax
Reference: Donnelly et al. 1998 Amer J Bot 85:1618--1625

Verbascum thapsus L.
Habit: Densely tomentose, hairs stellate or many-branched. Stem: 30--200 cm, generally simple. Leaf: basal short-petioled, 8--50 cm, oblanceolate, generally entire; cauline sessile, long-decurrent, 5--30 cm, lanceolate, generally entire. Inflorescence: raceme, dense; bracts 12--18 mm; pedicels < 2 mm, generally fused to stem. Flower: calyx 7--9 mm, lobes lanceolate; corolla 15--25(30) mm wide, yellow, glandular; upper 3 filaments white- or yellow-hairy, lower 2 glabrous to sparse-hairy. Fruit: 7--10 mm, ovoid. Chromosomes: 2n=32,34,36.
Ecology: Roadsides, streambanks, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 2470 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, n SNE, MP; Distribution Outside California: native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: May--Sep
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax
Reference: Donnelly et al. 1998 Amer J Bot 85:1618--1625
Jepson Online Interchange
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botanical illustration including Verbascum thapsus


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Verbascum thapsus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 19, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 19, 2018.

Verbascum thapsus
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© 2007 Thomas Stoughton
Verbascum thapsus
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© 2012 Barry Rice
Verbascum thapsus
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© 2012 Barry Rice
Verbascum thapsus
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Verbascum thapsus
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© 2012 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Verbascum thapsus
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© 2010 Julie Kierstead Nelson

More photos of Verbascum thapsus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Verbascum thapsus:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.