Reddish Vale Country Park
All images, copyright, Stockport Nature.Com
Click on an image to enlarge
Foxglove is a native biennial or perennial common in woods, hedgerows and open places throughout Britain; it is often grown in gardens.
Grows to a height of 1.5m.
A well loved plant of British hedgerows and EXTREMELY POISONOUS.
A powerful drug, digitalin, which is used to treat heart disease, is extracted from the leaves.
Foxglove-Digitalis purpurea, the first part of the scientific name 'Digitalis' means finger and describes the plants thimble like flowers. The second part of the name 'purpurea' refers to the purple colour of the flowers.
Different stories tell how the Foxglove got it's common name. Bad fairies might have given the flowers to foxes to wear on their paws, which helped them sneak up on chickens silently. It was known as 'Folksglove' (glove of the 'good folk' or fairies) worn as hats and gloves. It may also come from the Anglo-Saxon foxes-glien, a ring of bells hung from a support and used as a musical instrument.
Many other common names also exist. Witches Glove and Dead Man's Bells, which refers to its toxic nature. Despite it being toxic Foxglove has been widely used as a medicine. The dried, powdered leaves are the source of the drug digitalis, which is used in the treatment of heart complaints. This powerful drug slows and strengthens the heart rate, and stimulates the kidneys to remove excess fluid from the body.
The flowers are usually pinkish purple or white in colour, with an area of white inside the tube, which features darker purple spots and a few hairs. These markings are honey guides and show up in ultra violet light, which attract bees. A single plant can produce from one to two million seeds to ensure its propagation.