Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

FoxgloveFoxglove is a very common British woodland biennial or perennial which can grow to 1.5 meters in height although a height under a meter is more common. It grows well in woodlands, hillsides, and waste lands especially acid soils. It is very distinctive with a tall stem which carries the pink tubular flowers between June and August these are white inside with dark spots and hang downwards like the tips of gloves hence the plants common name.  It is one of the first plants to start appearing in early spring at this point noticeable by its broad oval leaves close to the ground which have grey felt like hairs on.  It is a poisonous plant (all parts including roots and seeds) and forms the basis of the digitalin drugs used to treat heart conditions. Some homeopathic cures use it to treat a weak heartbeat, kidney trouble, depression, and migraine. The use of Digitalis as a poison is often mentioned in fiction, it is the poison used on James Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale, the plant is so poisonous that even drinking the water from a vase in which the flowers have been in can be fatal. It is also poisonous to cats and dogs and other animals. Many varieties can now be bought as seeds providing a greater variety of colours than the normal pink seen in the wild.