This is a Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) growing along the banks of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Franklin Township. Common Mullein is an introduced plant in North America and is frequently found in open areas, particularly ones that have been disturbed (like roadsides and weedy lots). It grows a single column of flowers surrounded by a rosette of hairy leaves. As the flowers finish blooming, they wither and the stalk turns deep brown. I have occasionally seen American Goldfinches picking at the dried columns to get at the seeds.