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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 14th September

Posted: Sunday 13th September 2020 by trustadmin

Dark Mullein Verbascum nigrum

Dark, or Black, Mullein is a tall, striking native biennial with a spike of yellow flowers containing five purple-haired stamens and hairy leaves (unlike the slightly more common Great Mullein which has unmistakeably woolly leaves).

The main flowering period is from June to September but this can continue into November if weather conditions are favourable. The plant dies after it has flowered, but its lateral buds grow a new stem beside the rootstock and in this way it survives in quite dense stands. It also self-seeds abundantly

Its value for wildlife is threefold. The flowers are a good pollen and nectar source for a wide range of insects, particularly bees. Numerous seed-eating animals including birds such as the goldfinch feed on the massive number of small seeds produced and the dead flowering stems provide hibernation sites for over-wintering invertebrates.

On Alderney it is locally common but far less widespread than Great Mullein. This plant was in the field below Essex Farm, but I have also regularly found it near the Arsenal and in the fields behind Champs Beulai.

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