Anyone who handles them should wash their hands well afterwards. The leaves of the Foxglove literally pack a punch. How can you recognize them? What else should gardeners know about them?
Are the leaves poisonous?
Like all other parts of the foxglove plant, the leaves are poisonous. The maximum amounts of the so-called digitaloids are found in the stems and leaves in particular. These affect the heart rhythm. What sounds harmless can be deadly.
Two leaves from a Foxglove can mean the difference between life and death for an adult. Children and animals are particularly at risk. Therefore, one should never plant foxgloves in gardens with children and pets.
In the worst case, poisoning by the leaves of the foxglove can end in cardiac arrest. Lighter poisoning can be recognized by the following symptoms, among others:
- visual disturbances
- cardiac arrhythmias
External characteristics of the leaves
You can recognize the leaves by the following external characteristics:
- alternating fitting
- Basal leaves stalked, stem leaves sessile
- ovate to lanceolate
- up to 20 cm long (7 inches)
- notched at the edge
- greyish-felted hairy underneath
The basal leaves of the foxglove form a rosette. In the first year, this rosette of leaves develops on the ground. The flowers appear the following year. It is not uncommon for the leaves to be mistaken for weeds and removed.
Diseases leave marks on the leaves
Anyone who has planted the foxglove can be frightened when it gets ugly leaves, does not bloom, and ekes out a miserable existence. Sometimes it gets sick. These include powdery mildew and leaf spot disease (virus).
As soon as the leaves begin to white spot, suddenly turn brown, or curl up, that’s an alarm signal for the gardener to reconsider the care and pay more attention to the foxglove.
In the case of powdery mildew, the affected parts of the plant should be removed and disposed of. In order to avoid the development of fungal diseases, good drainage of the foxglove and a good supply of nutrients are top priorities.