Verbascum phoeniceum L.

2740 (4). V. phoeniceum L., Sp. pl. ed. 1 (1753) 178; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. II (1929) 133; Murb., Lunds Univ. Arsskr. nov. ser. XXIX, 2 (1933) 582; Fergus., Fl. Eur. III (1972) 209; Hub.-Mor., Fl. Turkey VI (1978) 495 — Финикийски лопен 

Fam:   Scrophulariaceae Juss.
Genus:   Verbascum L.
Species: Verbascum phoeniceum L.
English Name: Purple mullein or Temptress purple


Perennial plant covered entirely with simple and glandular hairs. The stem is upright, 30 - 100 cm high, thin, cylindrical, at the top ribbed, simple or sometimes at the base of the inflorescence slightly branched, slightly curved, more or less densely covered with glandular hairs with black heads. The base leaves of petioles 0.5 - 4 cm long; 4 - 16 cm long, 2 - 9 cm wide, rhomboidal to heartbeat or oblong ovoid, obtuse, slightly wavy, all-round or dull unevenly jagged, covered with simple hairs. The stem leaves are sitting down, significantly decreasing to the tip, glandular, triangular, tapered, heart-shaped, semi-stem wrapping. Blossoms located one by one, forming a grape, unbroken or slightly branched inflorescence. The bracts are lance, tapered, without little side bracts. Blossom petioles 10 - 30 mm, thin, straight. The calyx 3 - 7 mm long, up to the base divided; the shares elliptical to the back ovoid or oblong. Corolla 25 - 35 mm in diameter; most often violet, rarely yellow, yellow-green, red or white; outside naked; inside glandular; at the base of papillary units. Stamens 5 or 4; the petioles to the anthers coated with papilla; the lower violet, the upper white; all anthers kidney, are not running down, attached in the middle to the petioles; the above 3 smaller ones; the connector of the lower sometimes naked. The style 6 - 8 mm long, only in the base glandular; in the upper part broadened, with a hemispheric stigma. The box is 6 - 8 mm long, ovate to spherical, outward, up to 2 times longer than the calyx. The seeds are conical prismatic, 1 mm long, with 3 - 6 pits in each longitudinal row.


1   Corolla yellow, yellow greenish or white ............................................. var. flavidum Boiss.,
Fl. Or. IV (1879) 346. The Strumsko valley. Eastern Rhodopes, Thracian Lowland, Tundja Hilly Plain.
1* Corolla purple or red ............................................................................................................. 2
2   The Stamens 4 .................................... subsp. stojanovii I. Kov., Science. tr. Sel. stop. inst.
Plv. XII 2 (1963) 296. Eastern Rhodopes (Asenovgrad, Bachkovo).
2* The Stamps 5 ........................................................................................................................ 3
3   Bracts 2 times shorter than blossom petioles  ............................................ var. phoenieeum.
3* The bracts are equal to or 2 times longer than the blossom petioles …………....................
............................... var. amplexkaule Vel., Fl. Bulg. (1891) 416. Stara Planina (above
Klisura, Arabakonak, Murgash peak), Sofia region (Lozen mountain), Western border mountains (Osogovo mountain), Rila.

Note. Also included in the species are: V phoenieeum x xanthophoenieeum Stoj. et Wisniewski, Izv. Бълг. bot. other. V (1932) 9 - Tundzha hilly plain (Bakadzhitsite), Thracian lowland (Popovitsa village, Plovdiv district); V. phoenieeum x phlomoides; V, schneiderianum Aschers. et Graebn., Syn. Mitteleur. Fl. V; Stoyan. Aht. Georgch Izv. Бълг. bot. other. VI (1934) 7 - Vitosha. From:  „Флора на Република България”, том Х, БАН, София, (1995)

From:  „Флора на Република България”, том Х, БАН, София, (1995)

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Verbascum phoeniceum, known as purple mullein[1] or temptress purple, is a species of mullein that is part of the Scrophulariaceae family native to Central Europe, Central Asia and Western China. It is also naturalized in certain regions of the US and Canada. It successfully grows in USDA’s zones 4 to 8. It is a short-lived perennial species,[2] and blooms earlier than other mullein species on average, producing vibrant purple-pink flowers; it can grow up to 1m or more.


General Morphology
Verbascum phoeniceum is a dicot plant that begins with rosette growth in late spring and into summer. The initial lower rosette shows whorled basal leaves with pinnate venation and as growth continues, simple leaves grow in an alternating fashion on the stem.[3] The shape of the leaf blades of the V. phoeniceum can be elliptical, ovate, chordate or lanceolate depending on the environment in which it grows in. Five-petaled flowers appear when in bloom, where it grows as an inflorescence with multiple flowers on a spike starting with the first blooms on the bottom of the spike and newer ones upwards of the spike. V. phoeniceum exhibits pentamerous growth of perianth and corolla that is characteristic of the dicotyledonus mulleins.
The flowers can be deep purple in color (violetta) to pink (rosetta) and white (flush of white). The variation in shades for V. phoeniceum makes it ideal for hybridization with other mulleins. Hybrids may have flower colors ranging from white to various shades of pink and plum; as well as the advantage of a longer growing season due to its perennial nature.[4] In the center of each flower are fuzzy golden-yellow stamens.[5] The height of V. phoeniceum is shorter than most mulleins but can range between 0.9m – 1.2m in an herbaceous habit.


There are two recognized subspecies of V. phoeniceum:[6]


Verbascum phoeniceum is found in southern Europe, northern Africa and central Asia. It thrives in dry soils with full sunlight. Although they can tolerate moderate shade, they are unable to withstand soggy soils thereby requiring efficient water drainage. It can be found growing wild on hillsides, disturbed sites and woodlands in their native habitats.[7][8] V. phoeniceum has been brought over to the US among other temperate regions and cultivated as an ornamental garden plant. It thrives in USDA’s hardiness zones 4-8,[8] with possible natural occurrence in New York and Ohio where the winter temperatures are also required for seed germination after dormancy.[9]


Verbascum phoeniceum is pollinated by hoverflies and bees although it is suspected that moths also take part in pollinating the mulleins. The flowers expel a fragrance early in the day believed to attract moths and close up midday.[4]
In a study by Branimir Petkovic et al. 2004, V. phoeniceum were planted on three different substratum soil types, serpentine, andesite and limestone. Results showed that plant morphology and anatomy varies with soil type. Plants grown on serpentine substratum produced smaller stem leaves with the blades chordate shaped and dentate margins; plants grown on limestone substratum featured lanceolate stem leaves with entire margins and plants grown on andesite substratum featured even narrower chordate stem leaves with dentate margins. Serpentine soil produces an overall decrease in average values of the V. phoeniceum while limestone yields the highest values with andesite an intermediate, these values includes plant height, inflorescent length, flower numbers, and pedicel length.[10]
The first observation of self-incompatibility in plants was made on V. phoeniceum in the late 18th century and published by Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter. Unlike other mulleins V. thapsus and V. lychnitis which are able to self-pollinate, V. phoeniceum pollinated with their own pollen do not set seed but are cross-fertile; this had been attributed to the allotetraploidy of the plant.[11][12][13] Despite perfect flowers, individual V. phoeniceum flowers are shown to display either extreme male or extreme female characteristics, yielding more successful pollinations when used as such.[14] V. phoeniceum has 2n= 32, 36 chromosomes.[citation needed]
Verbascum phoeniceum plants will self-seed, dropping their seed pods freely where the plants occur to join the soil seed bank. Horticulturalists growing V. phoeniceum often will deadhead flowers to keep the plant in continuous bloom throughout its short-perennial lifespan.


There are not as many known uses for Verbascum phoeniceum compared to other mulleins. However in a study by Tatli et al. 2006, the mentholic extracts taken from the leaves and flowers of V. phoeniceum and other verbascum plants showed strong antimicrobial activity.[15][9]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: VI - VII, Fruitful: VI - IX.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Grow on dry grassy and rocky places, out of bushes and rare forests in lowlands and mountains, from sea level up to 1,000 m altitude. (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Southeast and Central Europe, Southwest and Central Asia.

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Република България”, том Х, БАН, София, (1995), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia







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