Verbascum blattaria – Moth Mullein

Verbascum blattaria - Moth Mullein, White Moth Mullein (yellow flowers)

Verbascum blattaria - Moth Mullein, White Moth Mullein

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Verbascum blattaria

Common Names: Moth Mullein, White Moth Mullein

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Biennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized weed is native to Europe, northern Africa, and temperate Asia.

Flower Color: Yellow, White

Height: Up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall

Description: The flowers are clustered along tall, slender, erect flower spikes that arise during the second year of growth. The individual flowers have 5 rounded, sometimes purple-tinged, yellow or white lobes, a reddish purple center, and purple-hairy anther filaments. The flowers are followed by rounded, glandular hairy seed capsules. The leaves are green, mostly hairless, toothed, often lobed, sessile, and oblanceolate in shape. The leaves are largest at the base of the plant and decrease greatly in size higher on the stem. The main stem is glabrous below, glandular hairy above, and typically unbranched.

Here in Hawaii, Moth Mullein grows in upland areas and can be found at high elevations.

The similar Wand Mullein (Verbascum virgatum) is covered in stiff hairs, while Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has velvety hairy leaves and does not have flowers with purple-hairy anther filaments.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Scrophulariales
Family: Scrophulariaceae – Figwort family
Genus: Verbascum L. – mullein
Species: Verbascum blattaria L. – moth mullein

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map