Another member of the Scrophulariaceae family is the Digitalis genus, a genus holding together some 20 species, most of them biennial and perennial herbs. After recent research, the botanist have decided to drop the classification of the Digitalis genus as a member of the Scrophulariaceae and to include this genus in the Plantaginaceae family, a classification that still stands today, its name being mentioned in most of the contemporary botanical literary works.
Amongst its originating places we can mention Europe, Africa and central Asia, but there are cases where we can find this specie growing in the northern American continent as well, for instance, in the north of the U.S.A. people can easily find in the wild the Digitalis purpurea, a plant of incredible beauty and resistance.
To avoid the scientific name of the plant, people mostly refer to it as the Foxglove flower, a flower that blooms in the summer season. The name of the genus, Digitalis, has a simple and logical explanation, as it suggests the resemblance of the flower with a fingertip, or being regarded as a coat perfectly fitting a fingertip.
Occurring on white, purple, pink or even yellow, the Foxgloves are flowers blooming on the top of a tall stem, a stem that in the first year of cultivation doesn’t produce flower; it doesn’t reach maturity until the second year when along with the leaves produced in the first year, now the plant produces flowers as well. Its flowers are very delicate and beautiful and are mainly used with decorative purposes.
Even though beautiful enough in appearance to be used at creating wedding bouquets or other special floral arrangements, the Foxgloves has a medicinal purpose as well. The extracts of Digitalis purpurea are used for creating medicines employed at treating heart diseases, epilepsy or other seizure disorders. A side effect of the substances released by this flower is the reduction of appetite, that’s why this plant is famous amongst the anorexic, using it as a main ingredient in their nutrition and dieting.
The benefits of the Foxglove flower as medicinal substance are well acknowledged, but the doctors advice control and supervision, because if applied unnecessary or in excess, the medicine based on Foxgloves can be fatal. This aspect has generated alternative names for the Foxglove flower in time, such as Dead Man’s Bells or the Witches’ Gloves. These names are mentioned in the folklores of the originating countries, where people have tries to use the Foxgloves at treating different diseased without scientific knowledge or medical supervision; the results were always fatal.
The Foxgloves usually occur on a wide range of colors starting from shades of white to purple or even unexpected colors such as yellow, or blue. Due to its colorfulness and its resistance, the Digitalis purpurea is amongst the most demanded and popular flowers amongst florist, as they can add a touch of color to any floral arrangement.
Foxgloves – Digitalis Pictures Gallery