Verbascum thapsus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaScrophulariaceaeVerbascumVerbascum thapsus


A biennial herb of open scrub and hedge banks, waysides, railway banks and sidings, rough grassy places, waste ground and quarries. It prefers well-drained soils, especially those over a sand, gravel or chalk substrate. It produces copious long-lived seed and may become an abundant colonist. It is a frequent garden escape, becoming established on rubbish tips when thrown out. 0-370 m (White Scars, Ingleborough, Mid-W. Yorks.).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Boundary and linear features (eg hedges, roadsides, walls)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 918

Life form information

Height (cm): 200

Perennation - primary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1874

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 375

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 12

Atlas Change Index: 0.27

Weighted Changed Factor: 11

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (220c)
Gross KL, Werner PA
1978.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 28. Verbascum thapsus L. and V. blattaria L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 58:401-413.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.