Common Mullein and Birds

By Terry Golson

Remember the Common Mullein? (Here’s my first blog about it.) The “weed” by my front deck? It’s been fun to watch it grow, like a, well, like a weed!

From this:


To this!


It’s been a popular landing zone for dragonflies. Honeybees and native bees (there are some delightful almost transparent ones that look like flies) have made use of the flowers, and someone (likely a caterpillar) has been nibbling at the leaves. The blooms have recently been turning into seeds and so now the plant is catering to goldfinches.


This female is having a feast.


A male joins her.


The Common Mullein is a biennial. It grows from seed and flowers the second year, then dies. It’s unlikely that I’ll have another mullein in the exact same spot. It favors poor dry sunny soil – and I have just the place for it on the slope off of my driveway. Rain is expected later this week. I’m going to cut a stalk and spread the seeds there. The other stalk will be left up for the birds and dragonflies. Maybe in two years I’ll have a hillside of Common Mullein. Nature makes you take the long view.

Are you nurturing something – plant or other – that you might or not see the fruits of for years? Let me know in the comments!


note: Thanks to Steve for the photos.

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