This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(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.
Plate XXXVI. A border of dianthus and digitalis.
Upright herbs, sometimes woody at the base, glabrous or tomentose or woolly, mostly simple: leaves alternate or scattered or crowded, entire or dentate: flowers 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: fruit 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 (Fig. 1265).
Fig. 1265. The juvenile or foliage stage of Digitalis purpurea, used as an edging. Year preceding the bloom.
a. Middle lobe of the lower lip longer than the others.
Linn. (D. aurea, Lindl.). Biennial or perennial, 4-6 ft. high: stems densely leafy: leaves glabrous or ciliate: racemes long, dense; flowers rusty red, reticulate-marked, downy outside; lower lip of corolla ovate, entire, bearded, July. S. Eu. B.M. 1828.
Ehrh. Perennial, or biennial, 2-3 ft. leaves oblong or lanceolate, ciliate: flowers rather small, 1-1 1/2 in. long, grayish or creamy yellow, sometimes whitish or purplish, downy, in a dense, many-flowered raceme, with bracts shorter than the flowers July, Aug. Danube River and Greece. B.M. 1159 (poor fig.). - A fine species.
Lindl. Has the habit of D. ambigua, with flowers like those of D. lanata: leaves downy, ovate-lanceolate, serrate or the upper entire: flowers ventricose, villose, yellowish; calyx-s e g m s. linear, villose. Siberia. -This is a rare trade name, and it is doubtful whether this little known plant is really in cultivation
Thapsii, Linn. Plant much like D. purpurea: perennial, 2-4 ft. high: leaves ovate-lanceolate or oblong, rugose, de-current: flowers purple, throat paler, marked with red dots in a lax raceme; calyx-segments ovate or oblong. June-Sept. Spain. B.M. 2194 (as D.tomentosa).
AA. Middle lobe of the lower lip shorter or hardly longer than the others.
Murr. (D. grandiflora, Lam. D. ochro-leuca, Jacq.). Perennial or biennial, 2-3 ft. high: leaves ovate-lanceolate, toothed, sessile or clasping, downy below: flowers large, 2 in. long, yellowish, marked with brown; lower bracts about as long as the flowers Eu., W.Asia. B.R. 64.
Linn. (D. tomentosa, Link & Hoffmgg.). Common Foxglove. Fig. 1266. The species most commonly cultivated: mostly biennial, but sometimes perennial: height 2-4 ft.: leaves rugose, somewhat downy, the radical ones long-stalked and ovate to ovate-lanceolate, the stem - leaves short-stalked and becoming small toward the top of the stem: flowers large, 2 in. long, ranging from purple and more or less spotted, rather obscurely lobed. On dry hills and roadsides, Great Britain, W. and Cent. Eu., to Scandinavia, running into white and modified forms in cultivation; sometimes escaped in this country. Gn. 34:488. variety gloxiniae-fl6ra, Hort. (D. gloxinioides, Carr. D. gloxiniaeflora, Hort.). Of more robust habit, longer racemes, larger flowers, which open wider, nearly always strongly spotted. variety alba, Hort. Flowers white. variety monstrdsa, Hort., is a double peloric form. P.G. 4:151. D. maculata superba is a trade name for highly improved spotted forms. variety campanulata, Hort., is a monstrous form with the upper flowers united into a bell-shaped large bloom.
Fig. 1266. Digitalis purpurea.
D. Buxbaumii is offered as a yellow-fid. species. - D. dubia, Rodr. Perennial, woolly: flowers slender, hanging, purplish, spotted inside. Balearic Isls. G. 30:309. - D. laciniata, Lindl. Perennial, woody, 2 ft. high: leaves lanceolate, jagged: flowers yellow, downy, with ovate, bearded segments; bracts much shorter than the pedicels. Spain. B.R. 1201. - D. laevigata, Waldst. & Kit. Perennial, 2-3 ft. high: leaves linear - lanceolate, radical ones obovate-lanceolate: flowers scattered, glabrous, yellow. Danube and Greece. - D. lutea, Linn. Perennial, glabrous: leaves oblong or lanceolate, denticulate: raceme many-flowered, secund; corolla yellow to white, glabrous; calyx-segments lanceolate, acute. Eu. B.R. 251. - D. mar-iana, Boiss. Leaves radical, very downy, ovate-oblong: flowers rose; corolla bearded. Spain. - D. purpurascens, Roth. Biennal: flowers yellow or sometimes purplish, pale inside, spotted at the mouth; lower lobe of corolla short. Eu. - D. purpiireo - ambigua is a hybrid of D. purpurea variety gloxiniaeflora and D. ambigua.
F. A. Waugh.
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