(Picture from the Plant Conservation Alliance Least Wanted list.)
I scored today! This isn't a picture of the huge mullein we found today, but it is a good representation. The mullein I found is about 9-10 feet tall, with similar leaf configuration as this one to the left, but the flower stalk is at least 3 feet in itself.
We had to take the trash to the local dump today and I saw this huge fellow a little ways away. I asked the lady standing guard at the dump if I could dig up the plant. "What plant," sez she. "That big weed over there," sez me. She didn't have a problem with it, so I went over to the mullein, wrestled it a bit, and got it out root and all with my trusty shovel.
Mullein leaves are good for coughs and congestion, taken as a tea, or smoked. The roots are flowers are also used for teas, and mullein oil is antibacterial. The plant I found is past the flowering stage--in fact, I was surprised to see it at all. Mullein is past its season here and has all died back. But the one we found is hale and hearty, lovely and huge.
More on mullein later.