Looks like Nutmeg had a goof yesterday and assigned the wrong date for the blog. Sorry for the mishap, but the next two days are my columns, so we’ll move on with our mystery and let her have a day off on Tuesday!
We don’t have these flowers right in the neighborhood, but it’s fairly common along our Virginia roadsides.
This wildflower is very noticeable along roadways, because it grows tall, up to six feet: Common Mullein, Verbascum Thapsus.
We squirrels don’t climb it—heh, heh—nor do we see too much of it, because it likes land that’s open. In fact, Miz Flora says it’s one that seeds well in ground that’s been plowed up, which unfortunately we see way too much of in our DC suburbs. Mullein has a whole host of uses, but she warned me not to go into those in case some of you humans took it into your heads to try them—her words, not mine.
But one she did give me permission to tell you the soft leaves were used by early humans to line their moccasins, and the dried stalks of flower heads were dipped in fat or wax to make torches.
Hmm, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to let out either.
New note: Check out the comments for this week’s mystery. Common Mullein is an introduced species, one found throughout North America. We’ve got a couple of links to more information.