Verbascum thapsus

Mullein has long been associated with supporting the respiratory system, most often used to help remove congestion and moisten a dry, irritated cough. It also loves healing the ears.

With its wonderfully soft leaves and ascendant golden-yellow flowering spike, mullein brings a shaft of bright light into the garden. There is something about mullein that invites having direct contact and being touched, whether its stroking a velvety leaf or grasping the towering flower spike.

Mullein is one of those plants that grows in the most unexpected places – out of a crack in a wall, or between two paving stones. Its success as a coloniser of bare and disturbed soil is one of the reasons it has such a wide native range, from Western Europe to North Africa and Asia. Its disregard for nutrient-rich soils should be considered before choosing its place in the garden, and grow it in the sunniest position you can.

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