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Digitalis grandiflora - Large Yellow Foxglove

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Lamiales - Family: Plantaginaceae

Digitalis purpurea, Foxgloves, Pembrokeshire

Wherever soil is disturbed, particularly by forestry clear-felling, foxgloves are usually among the first wildflowers to reappear, invariably in dense swarms, and in this chracteristic Large Yellow Foxglove is no exception.

A closeup of the flowers of Foxglove

Description

Digitalis grandiflora grows to almost a metre in height and produces yellowish flowers that are pollinated by bees in summer. Its basal leaves can be seen throughout the year.

Distribution

These lovely biennial or short-lived perennial wildflowers are found in the wild throughout much of southern Europe and parts of Asia. This species has also been introduced to gardens in Britain and in many other parts of the world including North America.

Habitat

In the wild, Large Yellow Foxglove favours woodland edges, scrubby wasteland and dry stony land in mountainous regions.

Blooming Times

This sttely wildflower blooms from late June until early August, depending on altitude. The pictures of Large Yellow Foxglove plants shown on this page were taken in Slovenia in late June.

Toxicity

There are toxins in all kinds of foxgloves, and every part of this plant should be treated as poisonous

Etymology

The generic name Digitalis was given to this species and its close relatives by the famous Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 publication Species Plantarum; the name grandiflora also comes from Latin and means large-flowered.

The individual flowers of the Foxglove are indeed finger shaped, and they also fit very neatly onto human fingers like the fingers of a glove (or indeed like finger puppets); however, for people with sensitive skin it is important to be aware that just touching foxgloves can be enough to cause itching or even more seriously unpleasant skin irritations.

Similar Species

Digitalis lanata is found on mainland Europe but not in Britain; its flowers are cream with brownish veining.

Digitalis lutea, which is grown as a cultivar in Britain and Ireland, is a native wildflower in many parts of central Europe including Slovenia, Austria and Italy.


Volume 1

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