A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Foxgloves

The dry weather seems to have suited the foxglove this year and our neighbour's collection on the roadside verge gives a wonderful display. They grow easily from seed and here are interspersed with other early summer flowers.
Digitalis purpurea is the Latin name for the common purple foxglove, digitalis meaning finger-like flowers. As to why it is called a fox "glove" one theory is that the shape of the florets look like little gloves.
The foxglove was widely used in folk-medicine for a variety of conditions. Later in the 18th century William Withering realised its value on treating heart conditions although the dose is critical! Today the Digitalin group of drugs is prepared using European varieties but apparently during the second World War the Women's Institute organised gathering and drying of foxgloves in the UK.

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