|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Digitalis (Latin, digitalis, finger of a glove, referring to the shape of the flowers). Scrophulariaceae, Foxglove. A fine genus, numbering several species, and some hybrids, of hardy or half-hardy herbaceous plants, well known for their long racemes of inflated flowers, which suggest spires or towers of bells. Plate XXXVI.
Upright herbs, sometimes woody at the base, glabrous or tomentose or woolly, mostly simple: lvs. alternate or scattered or crowded, entire or dentate: fls. showy, in a long terminal raceme or spike which is usually 1-sided, purple, ochroleucous or white; corolla declined, more or less campanulate, often constricted above the ovary, the limb erect-spreading and somewhat 2-lipped, spotted and bearded at the throat; stamens 4, didynamous, usually included; style slender, 2-lobed: fr. an ovate dehiscent caps.—About 25 species, Eu. and W. and Cent. Asia.
The foxgloves are old-fashioned and dignified, clean of growth and wholesome company in the choicest garden. The strong vertical lines of their flower- stalks, rising from rich and luxuriant masses of cauline leaves, give always an appearance of strength to the rambling outlines of the usual herbaceous border. For a week or two the foxgloves usually dominate the whole border. The usual species in cultivation is D. purpurea, which is one of the commonest English wild flowers. The name "foxglove" is so inappropriate that much ingenious speculation has been aroused, but its origin is lost in antiquity. The word "fox" is often said to be a corruption of "folk," meaning the "little folk" or fairies. Unfortunately, etymologists discredit this pretty suggestion. In the drugstores, several preparations of D. purpurea are sold. They are diuretic, sedative, narcotic. For medicinal purposes, the leaves of the second year's growth are used.—Foxgloves are of the easiest culture. The common species and hybrids can be grown as biennials from seed. The perennial species are propagated by seeds or by division. The common D. purpurea is best treated as a biennial, although it may sometimes persist longer. Seeds sown one spring (or fall) will give good blooming plants the following season. The large root-leaves before the flower-stems appear are decorative.
D. Buxbaumii is offered as a yellow-fld. species.—D. dubia, Rodr. Perennial, woolly: fls. slender, hanging, purplish, spotted inside. Balearic Isls. G. 30:309.—D. laciniata, Lindl. Perennial, woody, 2 ft. high: lvs. lanceolate, jagged: fls. yellow, downy, with ovate, bearded segms.; bracts much shorter than the pedicels. Spain. B.R. 1201. — D. laevigata. Waldst. & Kit. Perennial, 2-3 ft. high: lvs. linear-lanceolate, radical ones obovate-lanceolate: fls. scattered, glabrous, yellow. Danube and Greece. — D. lutea, Linn. Perennial, glabrous: lvs. oblong or lanceolate, denticulate: raceme many-fld., secund; corolla yellow to white, glabrous: calyx-segms. lanceolate, acute. Eu. B.R. 251.—D. mariana, Boiss. Lvs. radical, very downy, ovate-oblong: fls. rose; corolla bearded. Spain. — D. purpurascens. Roth. Biennal: fls. yellow or sometimes purplish, pale inside, spotted at the mouth; lower lobe of corolla short. Eu.—D. purpureo - ambigua is a hybrid of D. purpurea var. gloxiniaeflora and D. ambigua.
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Pests and diseases
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About 20 species, includingwp: