Sub-category: Figwort family
It has a long history as a medicinal plant. In a pinch, it also makes some handy toilet paper. Verbascum thapsus is a dicotyledonous plant that produces a rosette of leaves in its first year of growth. The leaves are large, up to 50 cm long. The second year plants normally produce a single unbranched stem usually 1 to 2 m tall. The tall pole-like stems end in a dense spike of yellow flowers that can occupy up to half the stem length. All parts of the plants are covered with star-shaped trichomes. This cover is particularly thick on the leaves. On flowering plants the leaves are alternately arranged up the stem. They are thick and decurrent, with much variation in leaf shape between the upper and lower leaves on the stem, ranging from oblong to oblanceolate, and reaching sizes up to 50 cm long and 14 cm across. After flowering and seed release the stem and fruits usually persist in winter, drying into dark brown, stiff structures of densely packed, ovoid-shaped and dry seed capsules. The dried stems may persist into the following spring or even the next summer.
Most frequently grows in bare and disturbed soil. It grows best in dry, sandy or gravelly soils, although it can grow in a variety of habitats, including banksides, meadows, roadsides, forest clearings and pastures.