I had a friend ask me the difference between a common mullein and a lamb’s ear. I just happen to have both growing in my yard so it didn’t take me long to pop out and take a few images. The images above are both of the mullein plant and the second year winter seed stalk. The rosette shape of the plant with its blue gray soft and fuzzy leaves grows low to the ground in the first year. Later on it will have leaves that are more upright along the stalk.
The image directly above this is of the lamb’s ear in winter. It grows in more of a clump with no marked rosette. The leaves are also a soft gray-green color and are fuzzy, perhaps not quite as thick as the mullein. In winter you can really see how different the plants are.
If you are observing these two plants in the summer or autumn, you can really tell the difference by the flower stalks. The mullein grows super tall and has yellow flowers and the lamb’s ear has a short stalk and purple flowers.
Here is the lamb’s ear blooming in the spring. You can see it is a low growing purple flower.
This is the tall yellow flowering stalk of the common mullein.
Hopefully this helps you distinguish the two plants….a lot of similarities and some really big differences too!
Here is a website I found with some more of the technical differences: Differences Between Lamb’s Ear and Mullein.