As a child Foxglove held a strong fascination for me. It seemed rare, special and somewhat magical and mysterious. I read about it in stories, but never actually saw it growing.
When I began gardening myself, it was a quest to include foxglove in my plantings. Some years there were only a few plants, others there would be a massive display as the self-broadcasted seeds of the former years plants produced mature flower spikes by the dozens! No matter the quantity of blooming plants, I am always enchanted by this amazing plant and flower.
In the Victorian Language of Flowers, Foxglove represents Stateliness or Youth.
Other names for Foxglove are: Fairy Thimbles or Dead Manís Bells. The name Dead Manís Bells makes reference to the poisonous nature of Foxglove. Folklore explains the spotted interior markings of the bells as the fingerprints of elves.
ALL parts of this plant are VERY poisonous. The plant produces the glycosides digitoxin and digoxin, which are used in the production of medicines for heart problems. The plant should only be used for medicinal purposes under close medical supervision. Extra care should be taken with children, pets and livestock around Foxglove. Wash hands carefully after handling any part of this plant/flowers.
Foxglove is native to Western Europe and was introduced to North America. It is cultivated for pharmaceutical use and as a garden ornamental. It has escaped domestic gardens and become naturalized in many areas of North America.
This Biennial/Perennial blooms from early summer to mid-autumn. The red/purple/pink bell shaped blossoms appear on a four to six foot stalk which grows up from a rosette of large, dark green, fuzzy leaves.
Bell cap detail
Bell edge detail
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