Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
This showy, European import is prevalent in low-elevation roadsides and disturbed areas in the western halves of Oregon, Washington and California, as well a a smattering of western, and east-coast locations.
Some foxglove facts from Elizabeth Horn (Coastal Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest):
- It is a biennial; it lives for two years, only flowering in the second.
- It was brought over by early settlers, either for their gardens, or as a medicinal plant.
- During WWI, it was gathered in Oregon and Washington to make digitalis, a drug used to treat heart ailments. The drug is now made synthetically.
- It is poisonous to livestock, and hence a nuisance to farmers when it invades their pastureland.
Although the flowers are normally pinkish purple, mutant white ones are not uncommon (see photo below).