Saturday, May 29, 2010
The pink flowers of this plant with the common name Spanish Peaks look lovely with the purple lavender behind them. It is closely related to foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea. I really like the deep color of this flower, though, and it is a perennial, so it will live in the garden a lot longer. Plants in this genus are also known by such common names as Dead Man's Bells and Witches' Gloves because of the cardiac glycosides they contain. Depending on the dose, they can improve heart function (digitalin was first derived from this plant) or kill you. Although it has been in medical literature since the 1785, herbal preparations are no longer used since the size of the dose is so important and the plant varies in how much active ingredient it contains. The line between improvement and death is just too small. Such a pretty plant, but so sinister!