In the Garden
Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
*Also known as flannel leaf, great mullein, Jupiter’s staff, velvet plant, and witches’ candle
Dark Mullein (V. nigrum)
*Also known as black mullein
Mullein (rhymes with sullen) is a biennial plant and, like foxglove, it only has a rosette of leaves in the first year. The large, blue-green leaves are oval shaped and feel like velvet. The spire of flowers that can reach ten feet tall develops in the second year. The yellow, five-petaled flowers have orange stamens and bloom a few at a time from June to September. European settlers unintentionally introduced it into North America.
Dark mullein is a smaller plant with spires only reaching forty inches tall. Its yellow flowers have purple stamens. It, too, was unintentionally introduced into North America.
The common name mullein was derived from the Latin mollis, meaning “soft, ” and its genus name Verbascum is a corruption of the Latin barbascum, which means “with beard.” 62 Both of these names are in reference to the plant’s fuzzy texture as are its other names flannel leaf and velvet plant
The Greeks used mullein in medicine and cosmetics. Romans dried the flower spires, dipped them in tallow, and used them as torches. Paradoxically, mullein torches were believed to repel witches, even though it was also believed that witches used them to light their rituals.
Grow at least one mullein plant on your property for protection. Alternatively, grow one at each corner of your property to create the corners of an energy fence. Crumble a dried leaf and burn it in your cauldron to remove negativity from your home. This also protects against hexes. Burning a leaf while meditating helps to connect with ancient wisdom. A sachet of dried leaves or flowers placed under the pillow aids in banishing nightmares. Fresh flowers are effective for love spells.
Cut down a flower spire at the end of the season and let it dry out. Make any needed adjustments to the length so it can serve as a walking stick that will provide magical protection as you ramble through woods or across fields.
Mullein is associated with the element fire and the god Jupiter. Its astrological influence comes from Saturn.