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Mullein Foxglove (Dasistoma macrophylla)

Life history

Species overview

Mullein Foxglove (Dasistoma macrophylla), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in oak forests and openings, often with dolomite near the surface. Blooming occurs late July through late August; fruiting occurs early August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is late July through late August.

Synonyms: Afzelia macrophylla, Seymeria macrophylla


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Tall (1 to 2 m); leaves opposite and deeply dissected, becoming smaller and unlobed toward the summit; flowers sessile (or nearly so), yellow with five flaring petals shorter than the tube, densely hairy inside.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence interrupted by leafy spikes with flowers from leaf axils; flowers yellow, 5-parted, flaring, densely hairy inside, lobes almost equal, widely spreading, tube longer than lobes; stamens 4.
  • Fruit characteristics: Capsule roundish; seeds papery.
  • Leaf characteristics: Opposite; lower leaves widely oval, deeply bipinnately dissected; upper leaves becoming smaller, unlobed.


  • Blooming phenology: late July through late August
  • Fruiting phenology: early August through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late July through late August


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Quercus alba, Q. rubra, Q. muhlenbergii, Rhus glabra, Ulmus americana, Cornus foemina, Sorghastrum nutans, Liatris aspera, Coreopsis palmata, Euphorbia corollata, Rudbeckia hirta, Andropogon gerardii, Solidago rigida, S. ulmifolia. Hemiparasitic.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Mullein Foxglove (Dasistoma macrophylla). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Dasistoma macrophylla in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in oak forests and openings, often with dolomite near the surface.
  • Soils: Moist, sometimes calcareous soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Mullein Foxglove. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Oak Woodland 2
Southern Dry-mesic Forest 2
Oak Opening 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Mullein Foxglove. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Western Coulee and Ridges 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid disturbance to trees for which this species is hemiparasitic such as Ulmus americana, Acer saccharum, A. saccharinum, and Quercus spp.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid site preparation that heavily disturbs herbaceous ground layer and soil; these include bulldozing and furrowing, as well as grubbing and stump removal.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).


Mullein Foxglove Photo.

Photo © Chris Evans,

Mullein Foxglove Photo.

Photo © Chris Evans,

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition