Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

June and it is time for the wonderful display of Foxgloves that occurs this time of year, especially at Arne.

We all know Foxgloves; the pixie hats of our younger days! They grow anywhere the soil is acidic and so they are less likely to be seen on the chalk downland and cliffs of Dorset.

The Foxglove is a good example of how plants avoid pollinating themselves! The flowers open from the bottom and the female stigma is receptive before the male stamens produce pollen. The main pollinators of the plant are bees which can only get in to the larger flowers and so they start at the bottom and work up depositing any pollen they have picked up from another plant as they go. As the large flower bells fade after pollination so the flowers further up the plant grow larger allowing the bees to enter those flower and so on up the stem.

The Foxglove is poisonous and best no consumed in any form!

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