November 05, 2008


Photographer: Kay Meyer
Summary Author: Kay Meyer

Is this beauty a beast? Digitalis purpurea, also known as Foxglove, Witch's Glove, or Dead Men's Bells, is poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if eaten. The leaves, flowers, and seeds are all lethal. However, the same compound that makes it poisonous is also extracted from the leaves to make digitalis, which is used as a medication for heart failure. In the proper dosage, it causes the heart to beat stronger. Digitalis has to be used with caution, however because minute increases in the dosage can make the difference between an ineffective dose and a fatal one. Photo taken in La Canada, California on June 6, 2006.