Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum) is also known as Black Mullein in the USA and is a member of the Figwort Family. This plant can reach around 100 cm in height on the red / brown stem that is haired at the base and sparsely haired at the upper part.
The flower is a bright yellow colour which can occasionally be white, it is around 18 – 25 mm wide and is ‘wheel’ shaped. The leaves are rosette at the base and alternate up the stem, the basal leaves have quite a long stalk where as the upper leaves are stalkless.
The leaves are dark green in colour and appear during late summer on a spike like stem that is covered in bright yellow flowers.These bright yellow flowers have 5 stamens, these stamens are covered in dark purple hairs.
Once Dark Mullein has flowered , the plant then dies, but the lateral buds continue to grow on a new stem. When this plant is allowed to flower without disturbance, it can produce up to 70,000 seeds.
Dark mullein can be differentiated from Great Mullein by its hairy rather than woolly texture to the leaves. The flowering period of this flower is between June and September but can continue into November if the weather conditions are right. This plant plays a major part in maintaining wildlife in the area. The pollen and nectar is a great source of food for a wide range of insects in particuar, bees. A large number of birds, including the goldfinch choose to feed off the seeds from this plant during hibernation.
Height: 60 – 90cm
Flowering Time: Aug – Sept
Preferred Conditions: Loves well drained but slightly alkaline soil.