WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has been involved in an ongoing relationship with humankind for thousands of years. Greek legends say that Ulysses was given a mullein stalk by ancient gods to defend himself against the ways of Circe. Circe was the beautiful enchantress who turned the companions of Ulysses into swine. Pliny the Elder, of the early Roman Empire, linked mullein to witches, while others from his day believed the plant would ward off curses and evil spirits. Mullein remains a noxious weed to some modern-day humans, but a plant of great beauty that is respected for its medicinal and near-magical powers by others. The plant is very much a part of our Oakland County landscape, but sadly it is often passed by unnoticed.