Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beauty or the Beast?

"Beauty is as beauty does." Well, not necessarily in the case of the gorgeous foxglove. Around our place from early June through August or so, the common foxglove (digitalis purpurea) spikes her dark pink head out of our pasture grasses.

Foxglove are biennials so the first year they shoot up a spike covered with tight green leaves. The next year is the showstopper. Flowers pop on the spike and range from the darkest rose to pale pink to even white. The first couple years we lived here on the farm I used to walk the pastures with the horses and think, "Gosh, if I was a flower I'd want to be a foxglove."

Ahhh, NOT a good thing to wish for...being a foxglove, that is. Foxglove leaves from the two year old plant contain pharmacological compounds used to treat cardiac patients. That's a good thing. On the other hand, consumption of even the smallest part of the foxglove plant can bring on deadly consequences to livestock and pets. Go figure. Fortunately the plant isn't very palatable (i.e. tasty) so usually only starving animals will take that fateful bite.

So, if you see this enchantress stalking your pastures, run, don't walk to her side and enjoy her beauty for only a moment. Then yank her skinny little body out of the ground and banish her from your property. The best way to do this is with a ritual burning at the stake! Don't pitch the plant into a pile at the back corner of your property because before you know it, the beast will re-appear. And because of her velvet beauty, it's so, so easy to just let her be.


the7msn Thursday, July 23, 2009 5:31:00 AM  

You'll be trading in your foxglove for the equally lovely yet deadly locoweed. Geez, it's always something.

penni Thursday, July 23, 2009 3:50:00 PM  

We just have millions of green apples -- not deadly, but I'm tired of picking them up in the yard and in the house.

Sue Saturday, July 25, 2009 4:13:00 AM  

They are deadly, but WOW, so pretty. And to think I had to BUY them for my garden, and you have them growing wild. One man's trash is another mans treasure.......

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