Please try our next iteration of the Michigan Flora Online here. Beginning on February 1, 2023, will point to this new site.

The new site offers several benefits over the existing website, including real coordinate mapping, giving a clearer view of the density of documentation as well as more precision about plant distributions and their link to landforms. We will also have the ability to update species pages more regularly, both in terms of new collections and as more existing Michigan specimens are georeferenced. In addition, we have a better photo display, and offer indented keys.


This is a large Eurasian genus (ca. 250 species); all our species are adventive or escapes from cultivation, and identification of the uncommon ones is to some extent tentative. Hybrids are frequent in Verbascum, generally intermediate between their parents as distinguished in the key below.

1. Flowers one in axil of each bract, on a pedicel about equaling or exceeding the bract; leaves and stems at middle of plant glabrous or nearly so (upper portion often with sparse stalked or sessile glands).

V. blattaria

1. Flowers mostly 2 or more in axil of each bract, on pedicels shorter than the bracts; leaves and stem ± densely stellate-pubescent, not glandular.

2. Upper cauline leaves only slightly if at all decurrent.

3. Calyx 2.5–4 mm long, shorter than the longest pedicels; corolla less than 2 cm broad; pubescence of stems and upper surface of leaves ± thin, readily deciduous at maturity, leaving green surface; stem angled or ridged, especially above.

V. lychnitis

3. Calyx ca. 5.5–8 mm long, exceeding the pedicels; corolla over 3 cm broad; pubescence of stems and both surfaces of leaves very dense, persistent; stems not angled.

V. phlomoides

2. Upper cauline leaves decurrent, with a narrow wing running halfway to all the way to the next lower node.

4. Stigma shortly decurrent down the style; lower bracts and upper leaves ± caudate (abruptly narrowed to prolonged tip); corolla ca. 3–5 cm broad, very flat.

V. densiflorum

4. Stigma strictly terminal, across the apex of the style; lower bracts and leaves not caudate (at most acuminate); corolla ca. 1.2–2.5 (–2.8) cm broad, ± concave.

V. thapsus

All species found in Verbascum

Verbascum blattariaMOTH MULLEIN 
Verbascum densiflorumMULLEIN 
Verbascum lychnitisWHITE MULLEIN 
Verbascum phlomoidesCLASPING-LEAVED MULLEIN 


MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. January 29, 2023.