Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Digitalis purpurea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PlantaginaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub, some aquatic. Leaf: basal or cauline, alternate or opposite (whorled), simple, entire to dentate or lobed, venation generally pinnate; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, spike, or flowers axillary in 1--few-flowered clusters; flowers few to many, each subtended by 1 bract. Flower: unisexual or bisexual, radial or bilateral; sepals 4--5, generally fused at base; corolla 4--5-lobed, scarious or not, persistent or not, generally 2-lipped, upper lip generally 2-lobed, lower generally 3-lobed, spur present or not, tube sac-like at base or not; stamens 2 or 4, alternate corolla lobes, epipetalous, staminode 0 or 1--2, anthers opening by 2 slits; ovary superior, [1]2--4-chambered, style 1, stigma lobes 0 or 2. Fruit: generally a capsule, septicidal, loculicidal, circumscissile, or dehiscing by terminal slits or pores.
Genera In Family: +- 110 genera, +- 2000 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Veronicaceae sensu Olmstead et al. Recently treated to include Callitrichaceae, Hippuridaceae, and most non-parasitic California genera of Scrophulariaceae (except Buddleja, Diplacus, Erythranthe, Limosella, Lindernia, Mimetanthe, Mimulus, Myoporum, Scrophularia, Verbascum). California Maurandya moved to Holmgrenanthe and Maurandella. Mohavea moved to Antirrhinum. Limnophila ×ludoviciana Thieret an occasional agricultural weed in rice fields. Hebe ×franciscana (Eastw.) Souster, Hebe speciosa (R. Cunn.) Andersen only cultivated.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Robert W. Patterson, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: DigitalisView Description 

Common Name: FOXGLOVE
Habit: Biennial, perennial herb. Stem: erect. Leaf: basal, in rosette, and cauline, alternate. Inflorescence: raceme, 1-sided, bracted. Flower: nodding; calyx deeply 5-lobed; corolla +- bilateral, long-bell-shaped, generally pink or white, lower 3 lobes forming prominent lip; stamens 4, in 2 pairs, included; stigma lobes 2, flat. Fruit: generally loculicidal.
Etymology: (Latin: finger, from corolla shape) Note: Some cultivated as ornamental or as source of the cardiac glycoside digitalis, a medically important heart stimulant.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax
Digitalis purpurea L.
Habit: Generally biennial. Stem: < 18 dm, simple, gray-tomentose and glandular, especially distally. Leaf: 10--30 cm; petiole winged; blade lanceolate to ovate, crenate to dentate, adaxially green and soft-hairy, abaxially gray-tomentose. Inflorescence: flowers many; pedicel 6--25 mm, tomentose. Flower: calyx lobes < 18 mm, lanceolate to ovate; corolla 40--60 mm, white to pink-purple with darker spots on lower inside surface, lobes ciliate, sparsely long-hairy inside; stamens, style included. Fruit: +- 12 mm, ovoid. Seed: many, +- 0.5 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=56.
Ecology: Acid soil in open woodland, disturbed areas; Elevation: < 1700 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo, KR, NCoRO, n&c SN, s SNH, CCo, SnFrB, WTR, PR; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia; native to western Europe, northwestern Africa. Toxicity: All parts TOXIC to humans and livestock. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Digitalis purpurea
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Botanical illustration including Digitalis purpurea

botanical illustration including Digitalis purpurea


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Margriet Wetherwax 2012, Digitalis purpurea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 04, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 04, 2022.

Digitalis purpurea
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Digitalis purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Digitalis purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Digitalis purpurea
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© 2009 Barry Rice
Digitalis purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson
Digitalis purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson

More photos of Digitalis purpurea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Digitalis purpurea:
NCo, KR, NCoRO, n&c SN, s SNH, CCo, SnFrB, WTR, PR
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).