NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PICTURE COLLECTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PICTURE COLLECTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The mullein (verbascum thapsus) native to Europe, was also called the torch flower because the soldiers of the Roman legions who remained in conquered central europe used to dip this plant in tallow to make torches for their billets. The thick down of the mullein is still used to make candle wicks in some parts of Europe. In medieval times the plant was also known as the flannel flower because of the fact that its stems and leaves were covered with this downy wool. It was considered a potent charm against demons and also regarded as a love herb, because it was used by witches and warlocks as an integral part of their brews and love potions.
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