Information on Foxglove

Common Name: Foxglove
Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea
Irish Name: Lus mór
Family Group: Veronicaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Foxglove is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

Tall, graceful, downy, biennial plant of woodlands, moors, mountains and sea cliffs, the Foxglove thrives on acid soil and quickly colonises recently cleared ground. Reaching 1.5m, it can have up to 75 blooms on one stem.  Its 4-5cm flowers are pinky-purple, even sometimes white, and have two lips with dark spots in the throat.  They bloom from June to August. Large oval leaves form a basal rosette in the first year from which the flowering spike emerges in the second. Known to be poisonous, this plant is a native and belongs to the family Plantaginaceae.

I first identified this in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 1978 and photographed it in 2003 and 2007 also in Glenmalure. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Although poisonous, this plant is of enormous use to medicine.  It has been found to be a major instrument in the treatment of heart conditions as it contains digitoxin and digoxin.   

Known by a variety of names such as 'Fairy thimbles', in counties Fermanagh and Cavan, you were not supposed to bring Foxgloves into the house as they were deemed to be unlucky.*  

* From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC 1838.92.