Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ABC WEDNESDAY


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

13 comments:

Babooshka said...

You have more than made up for any neglect with this bumper post.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Digitalis is one of my favourite flowers. I just wish they were longer-lived plants. ;-) I keep having to reseed new ones in my gardens.

ramblingwoods.com said...

They are beautiful Celeste. I know a bit of the history, but didn't know what it looked like. I knew you would come up with a really good 'D' post....Michelle

photowannabe said...

Great post for the letter D. I hadn't remembered that digitalis and foxglove were the same thing.

Lene said...

Yes, they are really beautiful. In Norway, we call them "Revebjelle" - which means foxbell ;)

Have a nice day :)

Arija said...

The common name in German is Witches' Thimble, no wonder you could not refrain from wearing them as a child!

Lily Hydrangea said...

ooh to be hiking among such beauty! I should try these in my garden-lovely!

Reader Wil said...

Foxgloves are always so wonderful in a garden. Your photos are great!

Carol said...

Beautiful flower...don't think I've ever seen it...gorgeous color...

Tumblewords: said...

Exquisite photos - the foxglove is one of my favorites - love the foraging bumblebee!

Louise said...

So pretty and summery!

I totally understand about trying to work and do nothing else. There comes a point when we just have to catch up or we never will. I'm there!

Life with Kaishon said...

These are beautiful flowers! You made me think of Spring! YAY!

Jay said...

I love foxgloves! We have some self-seeding in our garden - white and original pink/purple.

When I worked for a vet, many moons ago, they were still using digitalis for heart conditions. But there are much safer drugs now.