Foxglove

©Richard Burkmarr

Foxglove

©Richard Burkmarr

Foxglove

Scientific name: Digitalis purpurea
The Foxglove is a familiar, tall plant, with pink flower spikes and a deadly nature. In summer, it can be spotted in woodlands and gardens, and on moorlands, roadside verges and waste grounds.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1.5m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

The charismatic, pink flower spikes of the Foxglove are famous as both a reminder of the hazy days of summer and of its deadly poisonous nature. Ingestion of any parts of the plant can result in nausea, headaches and diarrhoea, or even heart and kidney problems. The high flower stems are only produced in the plant's second year, and can be seen between June and September. Foxgloves can be found in woodlands and gardens, and on moorlands, coastal cliffs, roadside verges and waste ground.
Like many of our native plants, they are an excellent source of nectar for bumblebees, moths and Honeybees.

How to identify

Foxgloves have large, flat leaves that form the base of the plant, and tall, upright flower spikes. Its distinctive, tube-shaped, magenta flowers are arranged around the stem and open in sequence from the bottom up.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The Latin name, Digitalis, means 'finger-like' and refers to the tubular flowers of the Foxglove. It is also the name of the drug that comes from the toxins of Foxgloves and is prescribed for heart conditions.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.