Digitalis purpurea Veronicaceae Foxglove

Picture 1 Close up

Description - A tall flower spike up to 2m high, unbranched, covered in deep purple narrowly bell-shaped flowers, with white markings within, thought to entice bees inside. The leaves are grey-green, large, downy and floppy, forming a basal rosette.

Habitat - Most would consider this a plant of woodland clearings, but woodlands, let alone clearings within them, being somewhat scarce in Guernsey, our plants are found mainly on hedgebanks, alongside roads, and also in scrub on the cliffs.

Comments - A popular plant with both adults and children, and still quite frequent in the islands. I find the colour of Sark foxgloves the most intense, but perhaps this is just my opinion! The whole plant is very poisonous, but apparently almost impossible to eat due to the burning sensation in the mouth which lasts for days, after the briefest taste. The drug digitalin is extracted to treat heart problems.

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