This plant grows wild here where I live, in the lower part of Lancaster county. My mom always said it was Mullein but it doesn’t look like the Mullein that I see on the internet. This one only grows up to a couple feet tall. It is just now beginning to bloom around the first of May. I am wondering also if it can be harvested – used as an herb for any health-giving benefits and can the leaves be used in a blender to add to my morning smoothies. This plant seems to like the sandy soil here, where not much likes to grow except pine trees, prickly pears, and centepede grass. Thanks for you help in identifying this plant.
no, this is not a mullein. It is actually a lupine, the Sandhill lupine, Lupinus diffusus. It is a beautiful native plant that only grows in open full sun in deep sandy soils, and, I think, it is difficult to transplant into gardens. It really adds color in the spring! This is a type of bean, and survives in sterile sands because it has bacteria in its roots that make nitrogen fertilizer for the plant. I do not think any part of it is edible, but you may wish to check further on the Internet.
This page has some additional pictures and information: http://www.ncwildflower.org/index.php/plants/details/lupinus-diffusus/
Thank you for your interest!
Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist, SCNPS