One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A herbaceous plant of the figwort family with woolly leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers, native to Eurasia but now widely and commonly distributed.
Genus Verbascum, family Scrophulariaceae: several species, in particular the widespread common (or great) mullein (V. thapsus)
- ‘Tall grasses and weeds - especially pokeweed, mullein and Queen Anne's lace that will produce fruits and copious seed heads - grow profusely.’
- ‘Pastures seem to be in pretty good shape with fair grass growth; however, I have never seen so much common mullein.’
- ‘The yellow flower spikes of a dwarf mullein or verbascum and the delicate white and pink trumpets of a creeping convolvulus defied my attempts at precise identification but were delightful nevertheless.’
- ‘Ilexes and oleanders line the roadside; tall yellow mulleins and apricot hollyhocks spring up in the screes above.’
- ‘Besides picking the more familiar lemon balm, coltsfoot and mullein, I found myself picking honeysuckle flowers for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.’
- ‘We've got hawthorn, gingko, elder, mullein, lavender, sage, thyme, echinacea, borage, yarrow and plenty of pine trees.’
- ‘I'm a great fan of verbascum or mulleins, to give them their common name, not least because they self-seed prolifically, leaving little room for weeds to flourish and filling the borders florifically.’
- ‘To make the oil, cover a handful of dried mullein flowers with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil.’
- ‘To treat a cough, make a calming tea from equal parts of licorice root, anise seed, mullein leaves and wild cherry bark.’
- ‘For instance, dock and beggarticks often indicate wet soil, while thistles and mullein indicate a dry soil.’
Late Middle English: from Old French moleine, of Celtic origin; compare with Breton melen, Cornish and Welsh melyn ‘yellow’.
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