Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), the only British species of a genus of Scropbulariacea?. It is biennial; has an erect stem 3 to 4 feet high, covered with grey down; scattered downy leaves; and a terminal bracteate raceme of pendulous monosymmetrical campanulate flowers. The corolla is rose-colour, or, rarely, cream-colour, with dark spots and light-coloured hairs inside; the didynamous stamens are within the tube; and the fruit is a many-seeded capsule. The whole plant contains a poisonous substance known as digitalin, which reduces the heart's action. The dried leaves are employed in medicine as a sedative and diuretic in dropsy and heart-disease; but large doses cause vomiting, purging, and fainting, and may prove fatal. It was introduced into medicine by the botanist Withering in 1785. The plant is commonly cultivated for the beauty of its flowers. It is the badge of the Farquharson clan.