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Aaron's Rod

 

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 Aaron's Rod
Verbascum thapsus

Other Names:  Common Mullein, Great Mullein, Candlewick Plant, High Taper
Distribution:  A native British wild flower, which is fairly common throughout Britain.
Habitat:  It thrives on grassland, banks and dry fields & pastures in sunny sites.
Description:  Biennial.  Tall, straight flower spikes in the second year from June to August.  In the first year the leaves form a rosette, but in the second year the stem extends from the rosette and leaves alternate along it. The flower spikes have individual yellow flowers along the stem. The leaves have a downy whitish coating of tiny hairs.
Uses:  In early days the downy coating from the leaves was scraped off and used to make candle wicks.  At country gatherings the whole stem was set alight and used as a torch.  The flowers can be used as a yellow hair dye.  Although most of the plant is poisonous, the dried flowers were once used to make a fruity flavoured medicine which was thought to relieve coughs and chills. 
Wildlife:  This is the food plant of the Mullein Moth.  

Sowing Instructions for Seeds: Sow seed in late spring to early summer in a cold frame and lightly cover with compost.  Germination usually takes 2-3 weeks, but is dependent on temperature.  When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and plant them out in late summer for flowering the following year.  The seed has a long viability if stored in a cool, dry environment.

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.