During our first bird survey in May, I photographed this interesting plant. There were hundreds throughout our survey area, mixed in with the daisies and other wildflowers that took over from the previous year’s monoculture of barley. As the month went by, a tall, sturdy stem rose from the center of each plant finally to culminate with small yellow flowers.
With some Internet sleuthing, I discovered that this cool plant is the Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), from the Figwort family. According to the USDA Plants Database, this is an introduced species to the United States. As I observed it in the field, I did notice fewer pollinators around the flowers. But it certainly made for a sturdy perch for the birds in our study, so it was a welcome addition to our hay-field this year.