Yesterday I planted a packet of foxglove plants in my garden, and today my
neighbor was telling me that all parts of the Foxglove plant is poisonous.
He went on to tell me a number of horror stories about people getting ill
and even dieing from them.
Has anyone had any health problem from Foxglove plants?
Foxglove is the original source of the medicine digitalis, the synthetic
forms being called digitoxin or digoxin. I believe the plant genus had
the name Digitalis before the drug was discovered.
Dr. William Withering discovered over 200 years ago that a tea made from
the leaves of foxglove strengthened the heartbeat and thus relieved the
symptoms of what today we call congestive heart disease. If the tea is
too strong, however, the effect will overstress the heart and cause death.
I have planted foxglove. I have not even had an allergic reaction from
handling the plants (which I cannot say about azaleas or fuzzy peaches).
Note that many popular garden plants are toxic. Included are Natal plum
(Carissa macrocarpa), which has ripe fruit that is edible, and rhubarb
(Rheum cultorum), the stems of which are edible if properly cooked.
Peach trees (Prunus persica) are especially toxic. One leaf can kill a
small child, and the almond-like kernel inside the pit contains enough
cyanide to kill a large adult. Almond (Prunus dulcis) nuts are somewhat
less toxic but can still make someone seriously ill if too many are
eaten. Rhododendrons (including azaleas) are also toxic.
Assume that most garden plants are quite inedible. Just don't eat them
unless you surely know (don't guess) them to be edible.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
> (http://www.rossde.com/garden/diary )
David is correct. So is your neighbour.
I would recommend to your neighbour that they don't eat the foxglove if
they are worried! And that you don't eat it also. If you have children
and they are at an age to explain this too......then explain it to them
so they don't eat it. If they are too young then yes, you should remove
Otherwise, no problems. Nice looking plants for a border, they attract
bees which is always a good thing and are relatively easy to grow.
No, and they have been volunteering in our yard for 40 years. The leaves
to tomato plants are poisonous as well, so I just eat the fruit. If I
want a leaf to go with it, I usually choose basil leaves.
If you like weekends, thank a labor union.
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