I suspect most people tend not to pay much attention to Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), also known as the velvet plant, possibly because it tends to grow in waste land areas. It’s a tall (up to 10ft high) plant with large grey-green velvety leaves and a central flower spike. However, on examining the plant one finds the flowers are really quite attractive.
Mullein has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. The leaves can be made into a tea as a cold remedy, and its roots and flowers can be used to treat earaches and croup. The leaves may also be made into a poultice to soothe sunburn and other skin irritations.
Mullein is a pioneer plant that provides nectar for bumble bees, honey bees and other insects. Hummingbirds have been known to line their nests with the velvety leaves, and native Americans lined their moccasins with them, too, to help keep their feet warm.
And back in the days of the Roman Empire, the flower spikes were dipped in grease and used as torches.
Not bad for an often-overlooked plant!