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Foxgloves (Digitalideae) of the British Isles

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Foxglove:

UK Status: Native and resident.

Flowering Period: From mid to late May through until September.

Appx Height: Up to 2 metres tall.

Habitat: This is a biennial plant, it grows from seed the first year, forming a basal rosette and establishing it's roots. It flowers in it's second year of growth and then dies. This plant appears to be in a state of evolutionary flux, a few plants flower and die the same year like an annual. Occasional plants can flower for two, three or four years, more like a perennial. The plant occasionally sports white flowers instead of the usual pinkish purple. Foxgloves are to be found in woodland, canal towpaths, roadside verges, hedgerows and many other places with suitable soil conditions. These plants can tolerate dappled shade through to bright sunlight.

Comment: This is a common wild flower throughout the British Isles, and Ireland. Foxgloves are the source of the heart drug digitalis. This very powerful drug can kill if ingested, or absorbed through the skin. As a drug only minute quantities are used. Use gloves when handling these plants.

 

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