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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 177. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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4. Verbascum thapsus L. (mullein, flannel plant)

Pl. 560 f, g; Map 2609

Stems 30–230 cm long, erect, circular in cross-section or slightly polygonal, unbranched or occasionally few-branched toward the tip, densely woolly with branched (having an axis) and stellate, nonglandular hairs. Leaves appearing grayish green or light yellowish green (the green surfaces obscured by pubescence), those of the basal rosettes 8–55 cm long, sessile or with a short, winged petiole, the blade oblanceolate to obovate, the margins unlobed and entire or shallowly scalloped to bluntly toothed; stem leaves progressively shorter toward the stem tip, entire to finely scalloped or toothed, sessile, oblong-oblanceolate to oblanceolate, the bases decurrent down the stems as a pair of wings, grading fairly abruptly into the inflorescence bracts; leaf blades with the surfaces densely woolly with branched (having an axis) and stellate, nonglandular hairs. Inflorescences dense spikelike racemes (occasionally appearing paniculate in branched plants), the flowers solitary or more commonly in small, irregular clusters at the nodes, the flower stalks absent or to 4 mm long, densely woolly. Calyces 5–12 mm long, the lobes lanceolate to triangular-lanceolate, densely woolly. Corollas 8–18 mm long, yellow, lacking reddish markings, the margins minutely stellate-hairy. Stamens unequal, the upper 3 with the filaments and anthers shorter, straight, the filaments densely bearded with yellow hairs; the lower 2 with the filaments and anthers longer, glabrous or sparsely hairy, the anthers orange, those of the lower pair fused laterally to the filaments for most of their length. Fruits 7–10 mm long, broadly ovoid, densely stellate-hairy. 2n=32, 36. May–September.

Introduced, scattered to common nearly throughout the state (native of Europe, Asia; introduced widely nearly throughout temperate North America and sporadically farther south). Banks of streams and rivers, margins of ponds, lakes, marshes, and oxbows, and disturbed portions of glades and upland prairies; also old fields, pastures, fallow fields, farm yards, ditches, railroads, roadsides, and open, disturbed areas.

Verbascum thapsus plants are avoided by grazing mammals and thus can become problem weeds in pastures. The fuzzy, first-year rosettes are distinctive, as are the tall, stout, second-year flowering stems. A rare, white-flowered mutant has been called f. candicans House, but has not yet been recorded from Missouri.



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