Verbascum virgatum Stokes

Wand Mullein
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)


Wand mullein is a stout-stemmed, non-glandular-bristly biennial growing to 4' tall in disturbed places to about 1000' throughout much of cismontane s. California. The basal leaves are obovate, crenate-to-dentate, and short-petioled, while the cauline leaves are alternate, lanceolate, crenate and sessile.  The leaves are ± hairy, as opposed to the glabrous leaves of its close relative V. blattaria which means that if you observe hairs, it is definitely virgatum, but if you don't it might be either. The other distinguishing feature is the lower pedicels which are less than 3/8" in virgatum and from 3/8"-1" in blattaria. Also, if you see multiple flowers per node, it is virgatum. The flowers develop in a long, terminal raceme and have calyces which are five-segmented into lanceolate lobes, and corollas of five yellow petals with densely-hairy purple stamens.  The infloresecence is glandular with ovate bracts and pedicels that are < or = the bracts. Wand mullein may be found to an elevation of 5000' and blooms from May to September.  It is naturalized from Eurasia.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Verbascum 2) virgatum.
Pronunciation: ver-BAS-kum vir-GAY-tum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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