Infrequent to frequent or locally common throughout the state. It is spreading every year. It is found mostly in pastures, fallow ground, and hayfields and along roadsides. There are two forms, a yellow-flowered one, the typical form, and a white-flowered one (f. albiflora (G. Don) House). Since my labels do not always give the color of the flower, unfortunately, I am not able to give their ratio of abundance. My recollection is, however, that the yellow form is much more common. Through neglect we permitted the white form to become established in our three-acre arboretum about 10 years ago. Since then I have endeavored to exterminate it by digging every plant as soon as discovered, and not a single plant has been permitted to seed. The viability of the seed is shown, however, by the fact that a few plants were found last year. It might be added that I have never seen a yellow-flowered plant in the tract. I have seen large areas of this species and I do not recall that I ever saw the two forms growing together, although this is quite possible.
Jepson 1993, McDougal 1973
Duration: Biennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Herbaceous biennials, to 140 cm tall, stems slender, leafy, herbage green and glabrous or more or less glandular pubescent, especially above. Leaves: Cauline leaves 2-12 cm long, sessile and clasping but not decurrent at the base, elliptic or oblong to ovate, margins more or less doubly serrate-crenate, basal leaves in a rosette. Flowers: Yellow or white with a purple base, corollas rotate, 25-30 mm wide, calyx 5-parted, 5-6 mm long, lanceolate, stamens 5, filaments densely bearded with knobbed, purple hairs, flowers 1 per node, borne in an interrupted, terminal raceme which may be up to 50 cm long. Fruits: Ellipsoid to subglobose capsule, 7-8 mm long. Seeds dark gray, less than 1 mm long. Ecology: Found in disturbed areas below 5,500 ft (1676 m). Distribution: Widely distributed in North America. Naturalized from Europe. Notes: If the capsules are present, a good key for this species are the pedicels are much longer than the capsules, if the pedicels are shorter than the capsules, the species is likely V. virgatum. Ethnobotany: Unknown Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher 2011 Etymology: Verbascum is a corrupted form of Barbascum, the ancient Latin name for this plant, while blattaria comes from the Latin name blatta for "moth.-
Stems slender, to 1.5 m, simple or branched, glandular-hairy above, without branched hairs; lvs variable, narrowly triangular to oblong or lanceolate, sessile, not decurrent, coarsely toothed to subentire, glabrous, the basal larger, oblanceolate; racemes elongate, loose, with a single fl at each node on a pedicel 8-15 mm; cor 2-3 cm wide, yellow or white, usually with an anthocyanic center, the filaments all about equally beset with purple-knobbed hairs; 2n=18, 30, 32. Native of Eurasia, established as a weed in disturbed sites throughout our range. June-Oct.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.