By TMac


The name "foxglove" was first recorded in the year 1542 by Leonhard Fuchs, whose family name, Fuchs, is the German word for "fox".

The genus digitalis is from digitus(finger), perhaps referencing the shape of the flowers, which accommodate a finger when fully formed.

Thus the name is recorded in Old English as foxes glofe/glofa. Over time, folk myths obscured the literal origins of the name, insinuating that foxes wore the flowers on their paws to silence their movements as they stealthily hunted their prey.

Digitalis plants have earned several, more sinister, names: dead man’s bells and witch's gloves due to their toxicity.
Medicines derived from the foxglove plants are used to treat some heart conditions.

So, pretty and useful as well as dangerous.

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