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 Weather Station

Products > Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer'
Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer' - Mullien

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figworts)
Origin: Turkey (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 4-5 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer' (Silver Mullein) - A biennial with attractive long broad silvery-white hairy leaves that form a large basal rosettes to 18 inches tall by 3 to 4 feet wide. From the center of the rosette in the mid-summer of its second year emerges a 4-5 foot tall branching inflorescence with several upright silver fuzzy spikes of 1 inch wide lemon-yellow colored flowers. This inflorescence still looks attractive long after the flowers are spent. Plant in full sun in any well-drained soil with regular to only occasional irrigation - after establishment it is quite drought tolerant though grows larger with an occasional watering and will tolerate regular irrigation if soil drains very well. This hardy plant will survive temperatures well below 0 degrees F - some say it useful in USDA Zone 4a down to -30 F. A great plant for its foliage in the dry garden and in flower it becomes a stunning flowering accent - since it is a biennial, it will usually die after flowering but often self-sows its seeds in the garden to perpetuate itself and some say the flowering stems can be pinched out to prolong the foliage clumps (we have not tried this). It is attractive to butterflies and the fuzzy leaves resist animal predation. This plant probably grows naturally in mountainous regions of Greece and Turkey and has naturalized in England and in Sonoma County in California but has not been seen as a problem in urban plantings or in other areas of California. There is some confusion about this plant's name and origin and it is listed as "unresolved" on The Plant List. Some also list it as native to the mountains of Greece but regional floras list it as an endemic to Uludag Mountain near the city of Bursa in northwestern Turkey. The name for the genus comes from the original Latin name for the plant which likely comes from the combination of the stem word 'ver' meaning "spring" combined with 'barbascum' meaning "bearded" in reference to the often hairy leaves of the genus. Verbascum bombyciferum was first described in 1844 by the Swiss botanist Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810-1885) from a collection made in 1842 with the specific epithet coming from the Latin words 'bombyx' (from the Greek 'bombc') which means "silkworm", "silk" or "silk garment" and 'fero' meaning "to carry" or "to bear" in reference to the silky leaves of this species. The name Artic Summer given to this seed selection is fitting as it appears to be covered with a silver-gray frost even in mid-summer. Other common names include Polar Summer, Silver Lining, Turkish Mullein and Giant Silver Mullein and Broussa Mullein in England.  The information on this page is based on the research that we have conducted about this plant in the San Marcos Growers library, from what we have found on reliable online sources, as well as from observations made of our crops of this plant growing in the nursery and of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we may have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Verbascum bombyciferum 'Arctic Summer'.