Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea
) is an erect perennial or biennial plant which is native to Europe. It has been introduced worldwide as an ornamental, due to its beautiful drooping, showy flowers. It is a very common plant, found both in the garden and the wild. During its first year of growth, D. purpurea
does not produce flowers, only a basal rosette of dark green or white-wooly leaves. During the second year, it produces tubular 'finger shaped' flowers that form from an upright flower stalk.
All parts of D. purpurea
contain cardioactive steroids (digitoxin and digoxin), and irritant saponins. During digestion they produce aglycones, which directly affect the heart muscles by slowing it.