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How can one tell the diffrence between foxglove and mullein this time of year when the flowers are not in bloom? I hear alot of people get them confused because they look similar, I dont want to make that mistake. I know the best way is to have a field guide and I would never use the plant if i wasnt absolutely sure it was mullein.anyways thanx for any help on this.

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Great question. 

 

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has a rosette of basal leaves its first year.  The leaves are broadly lance-shaped, taper to a stalk at the base, with an entire leaf edge (though occasionally obscurely round toothed or crimped on leaf edges). Practically the entire plant is densely covered in branched hairs, which are very woolly to the touch like felt.

 

Common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has a rosette of basal leaves its first year as well.  The leaves are egg or lanced shaped, and coarsely toothed along their edge.  Their texture is much more deeply veined, given them the appearance of a pattern like that on a reptile's body (scaly).  They are soft and hairy, more hairy underneath given them a more two-toned appearance (green on top, gray-green on bottom).  The leaves narrow considerably to a winged leaf stalk.

 

I recommend that you go and observe foxgloves and mullein plants in the wild.  Also, it is a good idea to get some field guides and get comfortable using them.  A great one to start with in the Pacific Northwest is Pojar & MacKinnon's PLANTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST.

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