Did you know:
- The Foxglove plant has been called Bloody Fingers, Dead Men’s Bells, Witches’ Gloves, and Fairy Glove because of its toxicity.
- It is part of the Digitalis family.
- Its attractive flowers have tubular bell-like petals that hang from a long stem. They blossom in a variety of colors – most often purple, pink, red, white, and yellow – and many have speckled throats.
- Foxgloves like acidic soil, and because different varieties favor sun or shade they thrive in a range of places from woodlands, moorlands, hedgerows, mountain slopes, and sea cliffs.
- Since the Eighteenth Century a medicine extracted from the Foxglove plant has been used to treat irregular heart conditions. A modern derivative called Digoxin is still used by cardiologists today.
- The entire species is poisonous. They cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, altered vision, abnormal heart rates, weakness, seizures, and death.
- All parts of the plant are toxic to humans, a range of other mammals, and poultry. Drying does not affect the potency. Symptoms last 1-3 days but recovery is likely with medical intervention.
- Vincent Van Gogh’s “Yellow Period” may have resulted from taking a Foxglove medication that was given to control seizures!
Botanical.com. “Foxglove,” at http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/foxglo30.html
MedicinePlus. “Foxglove Poisoning,” at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002878.htm
Wikipedia. “Digitalis,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis