British wild flowers: Tall, woolly spikes of yellow Great Mullein

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These tall, spikes of yellow flowers are popping up on sand dunes on the north coast and in hedgerows and on rough grassland on the south coast of Cornwall this month. We even had them on the mound of sand covering St Piran’s Oratory at Penhale Dunes (above right).

Often where you find this plant you also find the large caterpillars of The Mullein moth.

Insight into Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): a biennial, this native verbascum grows to over 2 metres in height. It is covered with soft, whitish, woolly hairs which make the leaves appear particularly unappetising but clearly The Mullein (Shargacucullia verbasci) moth caterpillars disagree as it is one of their foodplants.

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  1. Brian Scott

    Came across this plant in Cwmcarn forest – 22 July 2012

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