Milkweed is not Just for Monarchs and Mullein is a Soil Indicator!

Asclepias syriaca
Family: Apocynaceae
Common milkweed

Verbascum thapsus
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Common Mullein

What a Beautiful day today…travelin’ through Virginia!  So Beautiful, in fact, that I started to feel anxious! Were we ever going to stop and get out to take a closer look at all the beautiful wildflowers we were passing by.

And, passing by…is just that! I was jonesin for a closer look!  Two plants especially caught my attention.
Mullein and Milkweed.

Mullein has a fabulous stalk rushing out the top…with glorious yellow blooms! 

I’ve heard and read that mullein has many medicinal uses such as for cough, respiratory ailments.  A friend of mine even dries the leaves and smokes it to ease lung irritations!  I guess the smoke eases his symptoms.

Look at this grand mullein plant!


The mullein stalk, when in bloom, bears beautiful, small yellow flowers. These flowers, when infused in oil, make a good remedy for ear infections. A traditional remedy.


Not for use with injured ears or perforated eardrums.
Seek medical help when needed.

Here is an interesting blend of 5 leaves that can be mixed as an alternative to tobacco. Some leaves are recommended dry whereas some with some moisture still so please be sure to check it out. It is a wonderful guide written by Amy Jeanroy who I also quote further on.

Here are the 5 herbs recommended as a substitute blend for tobacco and perhaps helpful for non tobacco users as well.

-Raspberry Leaves
-Lemon Balm

And for those of you looking for medicinal uses here is some good info.

Here is a website that has mullein uses:

I can’t resist in showing you some of the photos I captured of sensuously lusty Mullein I found today in Virginia!

Basal leaves of Mullein





Here are some old dried remaining stalks of mullein.


So it is the lovely Mullein that encouraged me to poke around today.  There is so much to learn and I am a passionate enthusiast of foraging.

Here is a VERY USEFUL piece of information that I have learned from Amy Jeanroy on the above posted site (please click on link above)

I use this information and use mullein as an indicator of contamination in soil not just for mullein itself but other nearby plants. *******

****”mullein is a wonderful indicator of a soil’s contamination level. When looking for wild mullein, only harvest from straight, vigorous stalks. The crooked stalks indicate a high level of chemical contamination in the soil.”****

Here also is a wonderful site for those who are also interested in a spiritual and/or holistic view of plants. Mullein in particular. It definitely did act like a torch for me. Leading me toward it and around it. Comforting me by its familiarity and intriguing me by its extensive amount of uses. This is an inspiring, historical account and very useful site in understanding Mullein’s many useful preparations.


Nearby the healthy, useful and beautiful mullein that I saw was the glorious common milkweed!

The nearby Milkweed was showing some lovely blooms and pre-blooms!  How exciting!  I found a site that I really love about a month or two ago and was able to find it again.

A lot of this info has really stuck in my brain and inspired me to find out more about Milkweed!

For instance, you can harvest milkweed when the immature green pods are an inch in length! 

In the web page I posted ***It says that milkweed has mildly toxic effects which are removed when boiled!***

!!! *** Also, many milkweeds have cardiac glycosides. Many people can eat milkweed safely when it is boiled. But, if you have heart/health problems or any concerns please seek medical advice. I am sharing experience but am not a medical professional. See post:

Milkweed has a long history as an edible food. NOT RAW FOOD. Do some research too. And, do what’s right for your health and consider ALL Precautions!

Here is a picture of a narrow leaf milkweed species. I found this one in Texas. It is not edible. It is important to distinguish between the species.


Many parts of the common milkweed have been used as a food source. Although it is not a raw food. Boil for 10 minutes.


The beautiful blooms are said to make a sweet sauce…

And the immature blooms…which resemble cauliflower/broccoli…can be boiled or steamed…chopped and stirfried etc. ****Be sure and CHECK for baby Monarch caterpillars and wear gloves when harvesting!

I was lucky enough to find some beautiful pictures of milkweed and their immature blooms and foliage today!  I guess there are many types of milkweed but, I believe, this is the common milkweed.

If you want to read about my experience
harvesting milkweed pods and buds check this out.
It was quite a foraging leap of faith for me!

more milkweed photos 🙂




The lowest picture has the immature flower that can be prepared like broccoli or cauliflower.

Check out this yummy recipe using common milkweed flower buds! 🙂

Here is a recipe using milkweed pods that are 1 or
1 1/2 inches long. Look for this size mid summer.

***A word of caution…when harvesting/handling milkweed, the milkweed sap…the milky substance in the stem can cause extreme irritation on your skin and eyes are especially vulnerable***

And speaking of special handling look what Terri found nearby!


Mmm yummy blackberries! What a treat!

Thanks for taking a ride with me…and sharing an enthusiasts delight with Mullein and Milkweed!

Signing off for now….wildlettucegal



About wildlettucegal

certified plant lover 😀

Posted on June 25, 2013, in photography, wild edibles and the art life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I love mullein! It’s such a beautiful and tough plant. I don’t know how you ladies do it. One time from AZ to PA and back was enough for me for always!!!!!

    • I am so glad you like this post! Mullein was literally calling me to it all day! Then i got the chance to see it up close! I want to learn more about it. I know what you mean about long distance drives! Luckily we have a lot of interests and learning about wild plants has really helped keep my interest going! Thankyou for your comment! 🙂

    • Hello Rael, Thankyou so much for your comment! It is great to connect with other people who love mullein! It really did pull me toward it today so that was fun. I’ve admired the plant before and read bits about its healing uses but, don’t recall seeing the yellow blooms. So, another feature about mullein i learned today. I know what you mean about long distance drives. Luckily we have a lot of interests and blogging has been a great way to keep my energy up. Thanks again for your comment and interest in the post! 🙂

  2. I could just eat out of Terri’s hand there. Yah, my friend used to make me mullein tea to help with breathing. Beautiful site, Donna. Thanks.

  1. Pingback: So…What’s it like to Harvest Milkweed? | wildlettucegal's Blog

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