Great Mullein is also known as Aarons Rod as in the past its healing properties were biblical not only for human health but for farm animals as well.
It is a native biennial flower that thrives in sunny dry field margins. At this time of year a rosette of leaves that have a white coating of soft woolly hair (which used to be scraped off to make candlewicks) elongates to about 6ft in a good year and is covered in yellow flowers.
Although poisonous Great Mullein's pollen is useful when there is a lull in the rest of nature flowering When dried it can be used to make a yellow dye and medicine with antiseptic and anti-viral properties preventing growth of disease especially in the respiratory but also in the digestive tract.
The Mullein Moth lives off the leaves as a caterpillar and its life revolves closely with the plant and surrounding area. Birds do not eat them because their colouring is a warning so they need no camouflage and sometimes devour all the leaves severely weakening the plant.
The seeds of the Great Mullein are a narcotic and were once used by poachers to make catching fish easier in local ponds and rivers.
Great Mullein was also used at country gatherings as a torch. When set alight in the autumn the stem is the handle and the dried flower pods, full of flammable seeds, being the flame. To the poor living in the countryside years ago calling it Aarons Rod was as close to miracles they could wish for.