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Twiggy Mullein

Verbascum virgatum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
180 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, hedgerows, roadsides, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Flowers are usually white, however they can sometimes be pink or white. Sometimes the flowers are tinged red beneath. The 5 stamens have violet-coloured hairs. The upper 3 stamens are kidney-shaped and shorter than the lower 2 stamens. Flowers are 2 to 4cm in diameter.
Globular fruit, 7 or 8mm across.
A tall biennial plant with crinkly (net-veined), hairless, shallowly lobed, oblong, pointed leaves. Basal leaves are present. The stem can be angular or round in cross-section. The stem leaves alternate on both sides up the stem. Similar in appearance to Dark Mullein but the upper leaves of Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum) are stalked and the basal leaves are heart-shaped at their bases.
Other Names:
Wand Mullein, Wavy Mullein.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Verbascum virgatum, also known as wand mullein or wavy mullein, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family and can grow up to 6 feet tall. It has yellow or white flowers that bloom in the late spring and early summer. The leaves are green and covered in fine, soft hairs, and the plant has a tall, densely branched stem. Verbascum virgatum is not considered an invasive weed and it can be found in waste ground, roadsides, and along paths. It is not commonly used in traditional medicine or as a culinary herb. It's commonly known as "wand mullein" or "wavy mullein" due to its tall, straight and wavy stem.


Twiggy Mullein, also known as Verbascum virgatum, is a wildflower native to North America. This beautiful and unique plant has a lot to offer, from its striking appearance to its many uses in traditional medicine.


Twiggy Mullein is a tall plant, growing up to 6 feet in height, with a slender stem that is covered in fine, downy hairs. The leaves of the plant are narrow and elongated, giving it a unique appearance that sets it apart from other wildflowers. The flowers of Twiggy Mullein are yellow and bloom in the summer, attracting bees and other pollinators.


Twiggy Mullein has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Native American cultures. The plant has a range of medicinal properties, including being antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and respiratory infections.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Twiggy Mullein also has a range of practical uses. The leaves of the plant can be used to make a tea that is said to soothe sore throats and ease respiratory congestion. The plant can also be used to make a dye that produces a range of colors, from yellow to green to brown.


Twiggy Mullein is a beautiful and valuable wildflower, but it is also vulnerable to habitat loss and other threats. The plant is often found in meadows and other open areas, but these habitats are disappearing due to development, agriculture, and other activities. In addition, the plant is sometimes harvested for its medicinal properties, which can put additional pressure on its populations.

To protect Twiggy Mullein and other wildflowers, it is important to support conservation efforts and to work to preserve natural habitats. This can include supporting organizations that work to protect open spaces, reducing the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and advocating for policies that protect natural habitats and promote biodiversity.

Twiggy Mullein is a fascinating and valuable wildflower with a range of uses in traditional medicine and practical applications. By working to protect this and other wildflowers, we can help to preserve the beauty and diversity of the natural world for generations to come.

Information on the medicinal properties of Twiggy Mullein

The medicinal properties of Twiggy Mullein are due to the presence of various compounds, including saponins, mucilage, flavonoids, and iridoids. These compounds work together to provide a range of health benefits.

One of the primary uses of Twiggy Mullein is as an expectorant, meaning it helps to loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract. This makes it particularly useful for treating coughs, colds, bronchitis, and other respiratory infections. The plant's anti-inflammatory properties can also help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract and ease breathing.

Twiggy Mullein is also known for its antispasmodic properties, which can help to relieve spasms and cramps in the muscles. This makes it useful for treating conditions such as asthma, menstrual cramps, and digestive issues.

In addition to its respiratory and muscle-relaxing properties, Twiggy Mullein has also been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The plant's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help to soothe and heal irritated skin.

While Twiggy Mullein is generally considered safe for most people, it is always important to consult with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications. Some people may experience side effects such as skin irritation, digestive upset, or allergic reactions. It is also important to use the plant responsibly and to avoid overharvesting, which can damage the plant's populations and its ability to provide valuable benefits to humans and other species.

Information on the practical uses of Twiggy Mullein

Twiggy Mullein has a range of practical uses beyond its medicinal properties. One of the most well-known uses is as a natural dye. The leaves and flowers of the plant can be boiled to extract a range of colors, from bright yellow to green to brown. The resulting dye can be used to color fabric, yarn, and other materials.

In addition to its use as a dye, Twiggy Mullein has also been used for other practical purposes throughout history. The plant's downy leaves were traditionally used as a natural insulation material in clothing and footwear, particularly in colder climates. The leaves were also used to wrap and protect delicate objects, such as pottery or other fragile items.

Twiggy Mullein has also been used as a source of light in some cultures. The dried stems of the plant can be dipped in oil or fat and used as a makeshift candle wick. The plant's tall, slender stems make it well-suited for this purpose, as they can easily be inserted into a container or holder to create a stable and long-lasting flame.

Overall, Twiggy Mullein is a versatile and valuable plant with a range of practical and medicinal uses. Its striking appearance, unique properties, and cultural significance make it an important part of the natural world that deserves to be protected and preserved for future generations.

Information on the habitat and cultivation of Twiggy Mullein

Twiggy Mullein is a native wildflower of North America and can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including meadows, prairies, open woods, and along roadsides. The plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but it can tolerate a range of growing conditions, including poor soil and drought.

While Twiggy Mullein can be found growing in the wild, it can also be cultivated for ornamental or medicinal purposes. The plant is relatively easy to grow from seed and can be started indoors in the spring or sown directly in the garden in the fall or early spring.

To grow Twiggy Mullein, start by selecting a sunny, well-drained location with fertile soil. Scatter the seeds on the soil surface and cover with a thin layer of soil. Water the seeds lightly and keep the soil moist until the plants are established. Once the plants are established, they are relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate periods of drought.

Twiggy Mullein is a self-seeding plant, which means that it will reseed itself and continue to grow year after year. To prevent the plant from becoming invasive, it is important to remove spent flowers before they can produce seed. This will also encourage the plant to produce more flowers and prolong the blooming period.

In conclusion, Twiggy Mullein is a beautiful and unique wildflower with a range of uses and benefits. Whether grown in the wild or cultivated for ornamental or medicinal purposes, this versatile plant is an important part of the natural world that deserves our attention and protection. By understanding its habitat, cultivation, and uses, we can appreciate the many ways in which Twiggy Mullein contributes to our health, culture, and environment.

Information on the folklore and cultural significance of Twiggy Mullein

Twiggy Mullein has a long history of use in traditional medicine and folklore. In many cultures, the plant was believed to have magical and protective properties. For example, some Native American tribes believed that Twiggy Mullein could ward off evil spirits and protect against witchcraft. The plant was also believed to have the power to bring good luck and prosperity.

In addition to its protective properties, Twiggy Mullein was also used for divination in some cultures. The plant's tall, slender stem was believed to be a powerful tool for scrying or receiving visions. According to some sources, the stem could be dipped in water or other liquids and used as a divining rod to uncover hidden knowledge or insights.

In European folklore, Twiggy Mullein was associated with fairies and other supernatural beings. It was believed that fairies would use the plant's downy leaves to fashion clothing and bedding. In some tales, Twiggy Mullein was also believed to be a key ingredient in potions and spells used to summon and communicate with fairies.

Today, Twiggy Mullein continues to be used in modern herbal medicine and is recognized for its many health benefits. While its magical and supernatural properties may be less widely recognized in modern times, the plant remains an important symbol of traditional wisdom and cultural heritage. Its striking appearance and unique properties continue to inspire and captivate people around the world, reminding us of the power and beauty of the natural world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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