WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Feel the large, soft, velvety basal leaves and you’ll know why it’s nicknamed “cowboy’s toilet paper.” The robust plant sends up a 1–6-foot tall, leafy flower stalk tipped with a dense spike of small yellow flowers. This introduced, naturalized plant is widespread along roadsides and disturbed areas.


FLOWER: April–October. A crowded spike-like cluster of 1/2–1 1/4-inch wide (12–30 mm), yellow flowers with 5 petal-like sepals bloom from the bottom up around the upper end of the stalk.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem. A dense rosette of soft, woolly basal leaves, 4–16-inches long, elliptical, and pointed, forms the first year, then the next year the bloom stalk emerges; stem leaves alternate, stemless (sessile), smaller upward.


HABITAT: 4,700–9,500 feet.


ELEVATION: Sandy, gravelly soils, roadsides, disturbed areas; shortgrass prairie, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa-Douglas fir, aspen-spruce forests.


RANGE: Introduced invasive naturalized nationwide.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The large, woolly leaves and tall flower stalk distinguish this invasive Eurasian native that is naturalized nationwide.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread, except eastern plains border counties, in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Harding, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, Luna, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union.

 

WOOLLY   MULLEIN

VERBASCUM  THAPSUS

Figwort Family, Scrophulariaceae

Biennial herb; introduced, naturalized

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A basal rosette of woolly leaves forms the first year, then the bloom stalk grows the second year.

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