Digitalis purpurea
Photo by Flickr user Drew

common foxglove


  • This plant has a Plant Risk Evaluator rating of No PRE Rating
  • This plant has been rated Limited by the California Invasive Plant Council


Foxglove is an herbaceous perennial with a basal rosette of leaves, from which a stalk bearing long bell-shaped flowers grows after its second growing season. The flowers are pinkish purple or white with spots on the lower inside part of the flowers.

It is native to western Europe, the Mediterranean, and northwest Africa, and has been introduced to many areas as an ornamental and medicinal plant. All parts of it are toxic. It is lethal to animals that consume the plant in fresh or dried form.

It is found along the California coast northward from Santa Barbara County, infesting moist meadows and roadsides, with most observations Santa Cruz county to Del Norte County, and some in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills. CalWeedMapper shows its current distribution outside of cultivation in California.

Foxglove reproduces only by seed, which it produces abundantly. The seeds are dispersed throughout summer and remain viable in the soil for at least 5 years. Soil disturbance greatly increases establishment of seedlings. When it colonizes areas of soil disturbance it forms dense patches that displace native vegetation.

Why is this plant not included on the invasive plant list?

Foxglove was considered for addition to the list in 2006 and 2016. It was not included in the nursery survey because the environmental impacts from this plant are too low compared to other species.

More information

For more information about this plant, please see the following resources: