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(mullein), a genus of plants of the Scro-phulariaceae (figwort) family. They are biennial or, occasionally, perennial, usually tall herbs and, at times, subshrubs, with alternate leaves (the lower ones growing in a rosette). The flowers are almost regular or only slightly irregular, usually yellow, and are borne in racemose, spicate, or panicled inflorescences. The perianth is pentamerous, and the corolla, spreading. There are four or five stamens with hairs on the filaments. The fruit is a capsule.
There are about 300 species in temperate zones of Eurasia, North Africa, and North America, into which they have been introduced. In the USSR there are more than 45 species, chiefly in the Caucasus, growing on rocky slopes, steppes, dry meadows, sandy areas, edges of forests, and along roads. The best known are great or common mullein (V. thapsus), V. phlomoides, and V. speciosum. A tincture of Verbascum corollas, which contain mucilage and saponins, is used as an astringent, emollient, and expectorant. Some species, such as V. phoeniceum and V. olym-picum, are grown as ornamentals. Species with four stamens are sometimes classified in a separate genus called Celsia.
REFERENCESFedchenko, B. A. “Rod Koroviak-Verbascum L.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 22. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.
Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
T. V. EGOROVA