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Digitalis purpurea L.

Figure 51.—Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Other common names.—Digitalis, purple foxglove, thimbles, fairy cap, fairy thimbles, fairy finger, fairybells, dog's-finger, finger flower, lady's-glove, lady's-finger, lady 's-thimble, popdock, flapdock, flopdock, lion's-mouth, rabbit's-flower, cottagers, throatwort, Scotch mercury.

Habitat and range.—Originally introduced into this country from Europe as an ornamental garden plant, foxglove may now be found wild in a few localities in parts of Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia, having escaped from cultivation and assumed the character of a weed. It occurs along roads and fence rows, in small cleared places, and on the borders of timberland.

Description.—During the first year of its growth the foxglove produces only a dense rosette of leaves, but in the second season it produces a tall, leafy flowering stalk from 3 to 4 feet high. The leaves, which are from 4 to 12 inches long and about twice as wide, are wrinkled, downy, and show a thick network of prominent veins. In early summer the tall flower stalk produces numerous tubular, bell-shaped flowers which are about 2 inches long and which vary in color from white through lavender and purple.

Part used.—The leaves, which should be carefully dried in the shade as rapidly as possible and preserved in dark, air-tight receptacles.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update March 19, 1998 by aw