Digitalis lanata

Grecian Foxglove

Tall stalks bearing white flowers with bold brown veining make the Grecian foxglove unmistakable in the garden. Native to southeast Europe, it has naturalized and is now found wild in US and Canada.

One of the most medically valuable plants, Grecian foxglove is the source of the cardiac drug digoxin, used to treat congestive heart failure. It is extremely toxic when ingested and fatal to livestock who accidentally come upon it where it has invaded pastures or hayfields. All parts of the plant are poisonous, and it is recommended to wear gloves when handling it.

It can be a good garden dweller however, if it is deadheaded to rein in its tendency to naturalize where it is not wanted, as it spreads by seeds only. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Grecian foxglove prefers a well-drained location in sun or part shade, and will rot if planted in a wet area. It is perennial or biennial depending on the zone it is planted in. The Grecian foxglove is a plant to admire and respect for its powerful capacities.