The Digitalis flower, also known as the foxglove, is a native European flower. The digitalis genus of flowers comprises 25 species of plants, all natively grown in Asia, North-West Africa, and Europe. It is easily available now in North America and other temperate locations, but it is still uncommon. When it blooms, the vivid spikes make the landscape look bright. Digitalis got its name from the Latin word ‘digitus’, which means ‘finger’. This is because the foxglove flower can cover a finger! There is a history attached to the Digitalis flowers. There are folktales about these flowers.
The folklore will give a hint of the digitalis flower meaning too. The foxglove (digitalis flower) got its name from the term ‘folk’s gloves’, and ‘folk’ is a synonym for ‘fairies or fairy folk’. There are different tales associated with the flower. According to folklore, you will make the fairies angry if you pick the flower. But this story helped to stop people, especially kids, from plucking the digitalis flower as it is poisonous.
Digitalis is also known as the foxglove because foxes wore these flowers as gloves. They did that while hunting or ransacking a chicken coop. Again there is another belief on why digitalis has the name foxglove. The digitalis flower has the shape of a bell, much like an ancient musical instrument called the fox’s glew. And some traditions maintain that this is how this flower got its name.
‘Digitalis’ is the scientific name of the foxglove flower. The flower is a component of few traditional medicines. The name ‘digitalis’ in fact refers to the chemicals present in the foxglove plant. Overdose of these chemicals can kill a person, but when administered properly, the chemicals are useful in treating heart conditions. Because of this contradictory power of the digitalis flowers, it is also called ‘dead man’s bells’ or ‘witches gloves’.
The digitalis flowers are very attractive and awe-inspiring with their growth in clusters and having a pendulous tubular shape. These wildflowers have a dramatic appearance. Read on to know about the digitalis flower meaning, what it symbolizes, and other facts associated with it.
What Do Digitalis Flowers Symbolize?
The digitalis flowers symbolize healing and protection. As these flowers can both heal and harm, there is positive and negative symbolism attached to them. According to the Victorian language of flowers, the digitalis flower meaning is contradictory. It symbolizes fortune and ill fortune, immortality, and insincerity. Other than the negative symbolism of digitalis flowers, they also symbolize pride, ambition, immortality, and magic.
The digitalis flower also symbolizes magic and midwifery. You might be curious to know how magic and midwives have an association with the digitalis flower meaning. According to Roman mythology, goddess Flora wanted Hera to be impregnated with the god Mars. She touched Hera with digitalis flowers to make her pregnant through magic. This also led these flowers to be called Granny’s bonnets, Witch’s Gloves, and Granny’s Bonnets. This is also because senior women worked as midwives mostly.
The digitalis flower is linked with immortality because the growth and reseeding of this plant happen very quickly. Insects cannot harm the digitalis plant. Digitalis flowers are perennial flowers and can survive tough weather.
Digitalis is associated with ambition, ambition for either oneself or for someone else’s behalf. It is believed that in Scandinavia, whenever the hunters came to the forests, the foxes warned the animals. The fairies taught them to ring the foxglove bells and do so.
What Do the Various Colors of the Digitalis Flower Mean?
The digitalis flower meaning also depends on its color. These flowers are commonly found in lavender/purple, pink, red, white, and yellow. But they can be of other colors too, like brown, orange, peach, and even multicolored. If you are keen to know what the most commonly seen digitalis flowers mean, see the information below:
Lavender/Purple/Violet – Digitalis flowers of these colors are associated with the balance between love and power, and transformation. According to color psychology, lavender and purple have the power to soothe the nerves. They can ease the tension in your mind and make your temper low when you feel angry. Purple digitalis also symbolizes tolerance, charm, and magic.
Pink – Pink, white, and purple digitalis flowers are most commonly seen. Pink is a color of healing and love. It helps in coping with anxiety, loss, or any trauma. Pink digitalis looks gentle and can be said to mean warmth and beauty.
Red – Red digitalis flowers have an intense look and look dramatic when they move in the wind. Red digitalis is very visually stimulating, but they are not easily seen. The color red is a symbol of desire, survival, instinct, pleasure, and victory. Red digitalis can evoke happiness and make you feel cheerful.
White – In a garden filled with bright colors, white digitalis flowers can look fresh and soothing to the eyes. White is a pure color that is linked with contemplation, and innocence. These digitalis flowers also symbolize femininity.
Yellow – Yellow digitalis look cheerful and fun and will remind you of spring. Yellow color is associated with optimism, enthusiasm, and humor, and can help make you think clearly.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Digitalis Flower
- Digitalis or foxglove flowers are very toxic. Not only the flowers, but the leaves, seeds, sap, and roots are also poisonous.
- The chemicals of these flowers are used in medicine, especially to make a drug named digoxin.
- Animals are somehow aware that this plant is entirely toxic and avoid it.
- Digitalis produces around two million seeds.
- 20 – 80 flowers bloom at once on a Digitalis plant.
- Digitalis is a vital source of pollen and attracts long-tongued bees.
- The leaves contain a heavy amount of cardiac glycosides.
- Digitalis plants grow 18 to 60 inches tall.
- William Withering (1741-1799), an English botanist and physician, first used Digitalist to treat dropsy (edema).
Best Time to Gift Someone Digitalis Flowers
These flowers do not make good gifts because they have toxicity in them. These flowers can be dangerous when accessible to children or pets. If you want to give someone digitalis flowers, it would be better for you to give them the seeds of these plants. Someone who loves gardening might love receiving digitalis seeds. The recipient can grow the plant as and when they wish. When handled safely, these flowers can be used as part of floral gifts, used in wedding bouquets and arrangements. Digitalis flowers look beautiful and can add a touch of drama.