Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Well I feel that I have been very neglectful of my blog of late, all I seem to manage to post is ABC Wednesday and Skywatch Friday but I guess that is the nature of this time of year. I tend to hunker down, work a lot and not do a whole heck of a lot else.
And so to ABC Wednesday, this week we are on to the letter 'D' so I am going to do D is for Digitalis purpurea.
Digitalis is the genus more commonly known as Foxglove. There are numerous species but I am going to stick with the one I know, the Common Foxglove. This spectacular flower always reminds me of early summer in Cornwall where they grow everywhere, in the hedges, along footpaths, and of course in my mother's garden.
In amongst the wild riot of colour that is my mother's garden in summer it is easy to get lost but this is not the case with the statuesque Digitalis, this spear of dramatic purpley/pink blossoms can grow up to eight feet tall! Last year when we went to visit my parents, it was a particularly good year for Digitalis as you can see from this picture of my husband, out hiking.
Extracts from Digitalis, called Digitalin, have long been used to treat heart conditions. Digitalis is a classic example of a drug derived from a plant formerly used by folklorists and herbalists: herbalists have largely abandoned its use because of its narrow therapeutic index and the difficulty of determining the amount of active drug in herbal preparations. Once the usefulness of digitalis in regulating pulse was understood, it was employed for a variety of purposes, including the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, now considered inappropriate.
As a child I could never resist wearing the blossoms on my fingertips but now I am most content to sit and watch a beautiful big bumble-bee work its way systematically through all the blooms, gathering pollen.
For many interesting posts about the dastardly, dramatic, dynamic, diabolical, delightful letter 'D', check out ABC Wednesday.
Photo Credits - CJT & Dominick V
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