A Winter Aaron’s Rod Plant

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A winter Aaron’s rod plant

This furry-looking plant is Aaron’s rod (Thermopsis villosa) sporting substantial soft rubefacient leaves that you certainly don’t want to wipe your bum with in a midde of a woodland emergency: they are an irritant. Your cheeks will acquire a rosy glow if rubbed with one of these leaves, hence it being called Quaker’s rouge in the days when Quaker women were not allowed to wear makeup.

Also known as great mullein, the leaves were used as shoe inserts for warmth and acquired many other common names such as: beggar’s blanket and beggar’s flannel.

The leaves contain rotenone, which has insecticide properties; they were dried and used as lamp wickes, fire lighters, and the stalks dipped in suet for use as candles.

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