Herbs and Other Plant Species of the World's Boreal Forests

World Boreal Trees

Terminology | Pictorial

Digitalis purpurea
Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

A short lived perennial, growing to a height of 60 - 210 cm.


Foxglove Distinguishing Features - Leaves: dark green or white-wooly, 12.5 - 25.4 cm long, mostly arranged in a basal rosette. Flowers: tubular, shaped like the fingers of a glove, about 5 cm long, purple, lavender, pink, white, cream or yellow; often with purple and white spots or streaks on the inside of the corolla; on one side of the spike only, usually drooping downward; blooming late spring and early summer.


Native of western Europe, naturalized in other parts of Europe, Asia, Canada, and much of the United States; in cool climates in moist, acidic soil with abundant organic material.


Foxglove is grown commercially for the leaves which yield powerful cardiac glycosides that strengthen and regulate heartbeat; we know it as "digitalis". Extreme caution must be used in administering digitalis since the lethal dose is only slightly stronger than the therapeutic dose. All parts of foxglove are poisonous if ingested.

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