Verbascum blattaria

When I shot this photo, I stood in the middle of the roman amphitheater of Ocriculum (Otricoli, Italy/Umbria). I liked the bright yellow and feathery purple blossoms.

I asked my husband – he is a biologist: „What’s this?“
He becomes always very monosyllabic, when it comes to botany: „It’s yellow.“
„ROLAND, don’t make fun of me!“
„Maybe Verbascum.“

A year passed and I forgot the flower. Until I saw the picture again … I didn’t want to provoke another „monosyllabic-yellow-discussion“ at midnight, so I asked Jürgen Baldinger (Forum Flora Austria).
His answer followed soon after: „Verbascum blattaria!“

Now, I have to tell my husband, that he was right about it. Maybe I can sidetrack him by some very long sentences with lot of odd words in it. I don’t want to caress his ego to much – he could get used to it.

This is special variety of Verbascum, it is also called moth mullein. The name refers to the resemblance of the stamen to a moth’s antennae. Verbascum blattaria (lat.: blatta = cockroach) is an effective cockroach repellent.

Please, tell me: „Why did nature combine beauty with noxious side effects – everywhere and always?“