Friday Flower Porn: Maybe a Doc Should Check Those Spots

The common foxglove Digitalis purpurea is certainly one to affect your heart. Literally.

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Foxglove is, of course, the source of the cardiac drug digitalin. Ingestion of foxglove can be fatal, so no munching, no matter how much you may be attracted to it. Symptoms may include nausea, hallucinations, and bradycardia (slowing of heart rate).

A much less toxic avenue to bradycardia (usually taken as a heart rate less than 60 bpm) is copious application of aeorbic exercise. Accompanying nausea is infrequent except at the end of particularly grueling races and any hallucinations tend to be pleasant.

This particular specimen inhabits our backyard with numerous brethren. We started several years ago with just a few plants and spread the resulting very tiny seeds about in following years. It now appears all over, sometimes popping up in spots I never expected. The originals were of the color shown above but subsequent offspring have ranged from near white to very deep purple-magenta. The flowers are covered with tiny hairs although they can only barely be seen in the photo (note the sun glint on the one in the lower left). The flower spikes routinely hit three feet in height and we have had some over five feet tall. For whatever reason, they seem to like it here and we're happy to have them.

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