We have a number of these mulleins throughout the garden and naturally have no clue as to where they came from. Indeed, until only a few weeks ago, we had no idea what they were known as other than "that weird yellow one, with the furry leaves".
However, I have now researched a bit more about the Verbascum [botanical name] and how they are valued for "their tall narrow stature and for flowering over a long period of time, even in dry soils".
Mulleins have been used in herbal remedies for centuries and even Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656 – 1708) the French botanist who is often credited with being the first to make a clear distinction between genus and species, "devised a recipe for a treatment for dysentery by boiling the plant in water into which a blacksmith has plunged red-hot irons" (Fred Whitsey in The Telegraph).
Old records show that mullein was used by sorcerers, that poachers made fish drunk by feeding them the seeds, and that a concoction from the flowers provided a blond hair-dye. It is claimed to help with a wide variety of ailments: ear infections, wounds, haemorrhoids, diarrhoea, coughs, colds and pneumonia, croup, asthma and bronchitis, migraines, gout and tuberculosis.
Mulleins are also known for the softness of their light green “flannel” leaves, and were taken by early settlers to USA and used as toilet paper, and even today is often referred to as ‘cowboy toilet paper’ !
Family: Scrophulariaceae Botanical Name: Verbascum Common Names: mullein