Friday Flowers: beautiful but deadly

Posted: July 14, 2017 in flowers
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(I know I said I’d be featuring art today, but I forgot it was the day for Friday Flowers.  The art will be up tomorrow.  Sorry.)

Throughout history, there have been many famous poisoners using a variety of poisons, some easily obtained from nature.  Digitalis is one such poison, a poison that can also be useful in treating certain cardiac conditions.   To make it worse, it comes in such an beautiful, inviting package: the foxglove plant.

© janet m. webb

Foxglove were everywhere when I visited this year and I loved it.  They’re beautiful.  But I leave them well alone.  Touching them can cause irritation and if they come in contact with a cut, it can be worse.  The entire plant is poisonous, from roots and seeds to flowers.  Drying doesn’t take away the toxicity, foxglove is deadly to animals, and if someone, such as a child, even drinks the water that the flowers were in (if you had them in the house!), it can be deadly. Wikipedia says “Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Yellow Period’ may have been influenced by digitalis therapy which, at the time, was thought to control seizures.” 

© janet m. webb

I regret that I wasn’t able to bring some foxglove home to put in a vase.  I enjoyed the swathes of stunning beauties whenever and wherever I saw them.  But each time, they brought to mind Agatha Christie and her predilection for death by poison.  (Take a few minutes to read the article. It’s fascinating.)  All those possible deaths just swaying so innocently in the wind.  🙂  Enjoy foxglove, but from a respectful distance.

© janet m. webb

  1. we have it everywhere here… and we had some sick kids who surprised their mom with a fox glove bouquet on mothersday… fortunately it wasn’t serious….

  2. They are indeed beautiful. Thankyou for posting such important information ✌️

  3. They are a beautiful flowering plant but with an interesting history. I had a couple of plants but they died out. Ironic. 🙂

  4. Sue says:

    Some lovely images, Janet, and I did enjoy reading the Agatha Christie stuff

  5. They are so pretty! They’re enjoying or were enjoying a wonderful bloom on the Southern coast of Oregon when I was there late last month too. They were stunning! I always forget they’re poisonous!

  6. Dan Antion says:

    Very nice close-ups. I hope you used the zoom/macro feature. I didn’t know they were poisonous. And, I wouldn’t have recognized them. So, I learned a lot today – thanks Janet!

  7. Gee wiz i have them in my garden and transplant them around every year to flower where i would like ( they are bi-annuals here; reseeding where they choose) i knew they where the source for digitalis and poisonous to ingest but had never been told hat they were poisonous to touch.

    • I think it depends on whether or not you have a cut, but they can cause irritation for sure. My s-i-l has had a lot of experience with them and she mentioned this. There are actually a lot of poisonous plants that are rather common.


  8. I see no reference to their being poisonous to touch. However your cautions about eating them or drinking water they have been in are certainly referenced!
    I shall continue to give them a place in my garden along with lily of the valley and Monks hood all equally poisonous and lovely flowers. i shall also keep track of my grandchildren, as i always have, and educate them which is not hard to do; they are eager learners.
    Correction to my spelling error above -biennial!

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    What a pretty plant!! I had no idea what it was … thanks for the public service announcement 🙂

  10. SoyBend says:

    They are pretty so it’s too bad they are poisonous. My daughter ate some when she was a toddler. A call to Poison Control and some Syrup of Ipecac and she was fine. I always thought of them differently after that.

  11. anne leueen says:

    So beautiful and enticing! I have not seen these in Ontario but since it does look familiar I must have seen them somewhere. Yesterday I saw a very poisonous plant ( it is tall and has a big umbrella shaped white cluster of small flowers). I don’t know the name of it but the Township removes them pretty fast. Thanks for your post it was a good reminder.

  12. Did not know this! Thanks. I enjoy seeing these. I will keep away.

  13. marianallen says:

    Thank you for the beautiful close-ups, so I can enjoy the foxgloves in detail without getting close! Thank you, also, for the link to the Christie article. I’m a fan! (Of Ms. Christie’s fiction, not of death by poison.)

    • Marian, I figured (hoped?) you meant a fan of Agatha, not death by poison. I love the Poirot programs. David Suchet is perfect as Poirot and it seemed so odd when I saw him on TV speaking with his English accent. 🙂


  14. Your second photo is my favorite, Janet. I like the purple border inside the frame.

  15. Emilio Pasquale says:

    That article from The New Yorker was definitely interesting. So was this post. I had no idea foxglove is so deadly. I do know some people that I’m not too fond of. I wonder if …. Nah, forget it!

  16. Su Leslie says:

    Foxgloves are quite rare here so I seldom see them. Makes your photos even more enjoyable.

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