Thursday, July 26, 2007

Flower Fest - V for Verbascum Thapsus

Yet another noxious weed. This time, I knew it was a weed. It had to be! I found it at the Walker Ranch on one those special days in fall when they open it up to the public. The ranch, that is. The open space around the ranch is accessible to the public year round. We were just back from a cold camping trip in the mountains and we went under-dressed for what appeared to be a gorgeous day but with cold winds blowing from the mountains. My ears couldn't bear the cold wind anymore and I returned to the car, which had been warmed by the sun. When I looked up at the sky, this is what I saw:

So, of course, I had to hop out again and brave the wind...

Known as common mullein or great mullein, this weed can grow over 7 feet tall. A wet spring can result in leaves that are as long as 20 inches.

Long dried-up brown stalks are a common sight by late fall. This plant is not native to the US but is found all over the continental US!

Wikipedia notes that it has been used since ancient times as a remedy for skin, throat and breathing ailments. It has long had a medicinal reputation, especially as an astringent and emollient. It contains mucilage, several saponins, coumarin and glycosides. Dioscorides recommended it for diseases of the lung and it is nowadays widely available in health and herbal stores. Non-medical uses have included dyeing and making torches.

Flower Fest - the A-Z of FlowersThis is my entry for the letter V in the Flower Fest - the A - Z of Flowers.

Flower Fest is the brainchild of Nature & Me and Sree. Every two weeks, the focus will be on a letter of the English alphabet. The current letter is V. I am submitting photographs of flowers as my entries.

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2 introspections:

Pelicano July 31, 2007 1:01 AM  

I love great mullein! So soft and furry- the flowers made into a tea work well as a sleep aid by the way...or if you wanna knock someone out.

Manisha July 31, 2007 3:13 PM  

I had no clue that mullein had edible flowers!

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