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Hungarian Mullein

Verbascum speciosum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, grassland, roadsides, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
The flowers are arranged in many-branched spikes, similar to that of a candelabra. The flowers are yellow and cup-shaped with white stamen hairs (5 stamens).
Egg-shaped capsule, 6 to 8mm in length. Many-seeded.
A biennial garden escape species with broad, lance-shaped leaves, up to 20cm (9 inches) long. The leaves form a basal rosette and some are alternate up the stem. The leaves are greyish-green with wavy margins. Lower leaves are short-stalked. Upper leaves are unstalked. The stem is erect.
Other Names:
Showy Mullein.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Verbascum speciosum, also known as showy mullein, is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family and can grow up to 2 meters tall. It has spikes of large, 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 speciosum 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, but it's commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its showy flowers and attractive form.


Hungarian mullein, also known as Verbascum speciosum, is a beautiful and unique plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the mullein family, which includes over 300 species of flowering plants that are commonly found throughout the world.

This perennial herbaceous plant can grow up to 2 meters tall and has large, woolly leaves that are silver-green in color. The plant produces tall spikes of stunning, bright pink flowers that can grow up to 30 centimeters in length. The flowers bloom in the summer months and are a favorite among bees and other pollinators.

Hungarian mullein is known for its medicinal properties, which have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. The plant contains several active compounds, including saponins, flavonoids, and mucilage, which have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and expectorant properties.

In traditional medicine, Hungarian mullein was used to treat respiratory conditions, such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. It was also used as a natural remedy for earaches and other ear infections. The mucilage found in the plant can help soothe and lubricate the respiratory tract, while the saponins and flavonoids can help fight off infections.

Today, Hungarian mullein is still used in herbal medicine to treat respiratory conditions and other ailments. It can be taken in the form of teas, tinctures, or capsules. However, it is important to note that herbal remedies should be used with caution and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Hungarian mullein is also a popular ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes. Its tall, striking flowers make it a standout addition to any garden or flower bed. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate some shade.

Hungarian mullein is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate some shade. It is drought-tolerant and does not require much water, making it a great choice for xeriscaping.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental value, Hungarian mullein has also been used for other practical purposes. The plant has been used to make natural dye, with the flowers producing a beautiful pink color. The leaves of the plant have also been used as a natural insect repellent.

Despite its many benefits, Hungarian mullein is not without its drawbacks. The plant can be invasive in some areas, spreading quickly and outcompeting native species. It is important to research and understand the potential risks of introducing non-native plants into your garden or landscape.

Another interesting fact about Hungarian mullein is that it has been used for centuries in traditional folk medicine for spiritual and emotional healing. The plant was believed to have a calming effect on the mind and spirit, and was often used to promote feelings of peace and relaxation.

In addition, Hungarian mullein has been used in traditional rituals and ceremonies. The plant was believed to have protective properties, and was often used to ward off negative energy or spirits. It was also believed to enhance psychic abilities and intuition, making it a popular choice for those seeking spiritual guidance.

Today, Hungarian mullein is still used by some spiritual practitioners for its calming and protective properties. It is often burned as a smudge or added to herbal blends for use in meditation and other spiritual practices.

One interesting aspect of Hungarian mullein is its relationship with insects, particularly moths. The plant is a known host for the mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci), a species of moth that feeds exclusively on mullein plants. The mullein moth is easily recognizable by its striking black and yellow markings, and is often found resting on the leaves of mullein plants during the day.

While the mullein moth can be a nuisance for gardeners and landscapers, it is an important part of the ecosystem. The moth is a pollinator and helps to spread the seeds of mullein plants, ensuring their continued growth and survival.

In addition, Hungarian mullein has also been used in traditional dyeing techniques. The plant produces a beautiful pink color when its flowers are steeped in water or alcohol. The resulting dye can be used to color textiles and other materials, creating a vibrant and natural color that is popular among eco-conscious artisans.

Overall, Hungarian mullein is a fascinating plant that has many interesting qualities and uses. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, ornamental value, spiritual significance, or role in the ecosystem, it is a plant that is definitely worth exploring further.