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Straw Foxglove

Digitalis lutea

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life Cycle:
Biennial or Perennial
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Hedgerows, roadsides, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 1 petal
Yellow tubular flowers with brown spots on the inside. The flowers have 5 triangular lobes at their ends. Sometimes the flowers are white. 2 creamy-brown anthers. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a many-seeded capsule.
The leaves are narrowly oval, bright green, smooth and shiny. They alternate going up the stems. Perennial.
Other Names:
Small Yellow Foxglove, Yellow Foxglove.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Digitalis lutea, also known as yellow foxglove, is a species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae. It is native to the western Mediterranean region, including the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. The plant is known for its tall spikes of yellow flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer.

The species is not as widely used in gardens and landscapes as some of the more common foxglove species, such as Digitalis purpurea. However, it can be an attractive addition to a mixed perennial border, particularly in areas with Mediterranean-style landscapes. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils, and it can tolerate dry conditions once established.

Like other foxglove species, the leaves and flowers of Digitalis lutea contain compounds called cardenolides that can have a toxic effect on the heart. While the plant can be safely grown in gardens, it should not be ingested as it is potentially dangerous.

In some places where it is native, it also used for medicinal purposes. The leaves and flowers have been used as a treatment for heart conditions. However, it is important to note that self-medicating with foxglove can be dangerous and even fatal, so it should not be used without the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.


Straw foxglove, also known as Digitalis lutea, is a stunning flowering plant native to Europe. While it shares the same genus as the commonly known purple foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), straw foxglove has its own unique charm and beauty. In this blog, we will delve deeper into the world of straw foxglove and explore its characteristics, cultivation, and medicinal properties.

Characteristics of Straw Foxglove

Straw foxglove is a biennial plant that grows up to 1.2 meters in height. It has a rosette of leaves in the first year and produces tall, erect spikes of yellow tubular flowers in the second year. The flowers are bell-shaped and approximately 2.5 centimeters long. The plant blooms from June to August and is known for attracting bees and other pollinators.

Cultivation of Straw Foxglove

Straw foxglove prefers a well-drained, slightly acidic soil and partial to full sunlight. The plant can be grown from seed or by division in the early spring or autumn. Once established, straw foxglove is a low maintenance plant and requires little care other than regular watering.

Medicinal Properties of Straw Foxglove

Like its cousin, purple foxglove, straw foxglove contains digitalis glycosides, which have medicinal properties. The digitalis glycosides are used to treat a variety of cardiac conditions, including atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. However, it is important to note that digitalis glycosides can be toxic if consumed in high doses and should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

In addition to its medicinal properties, straw foxglove has also been used in traditional medicine for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to treat edema, urinary tract infections, and other conditions.

More about Straw Foxgoves

Straw foxglove is also a popular ornamental plant due to its striking yellow flowers, which can brighten up any garden. It is often planted in cottage gardens and mixed herbaceous borders, where it can add a splash of color and interest to the landscape. It can also be grown in containers, making it an excellent choice for balconies and patios.

One of the advantages of straw foxglove is that it is less susceptible to pests and diseases than other foxglove varieties. However, it may be affected by leaf spot, powdery mildew, and rust in wet or humid conditions. To prevent these problems, it is important to provide good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.

If you are planning to grow straw foxglove in your garden, it is important to be aware of its potential toxicity. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested, and even the sap can cause skin irritation in some people. Therefore, it is important to handle the plant with care and keep it away from children and pets.

Another interesting aspect of straw foxglove is its cultural significance. In traditional folklore, foxgloves were believed to be associated with fairies and supernatural beings. It was thought that wearing a foxglove flower could give one the power to communicate with fairies, and that planting foxgloves in your garden could protect your home from evil spirits.

Today, straw foxglove is still used in some cultures as a symbol of healing and protection. In some European countries, it is considered a lucky charm and is often used in wedding bouquets or as a gift for loved ones.

In addition to its cultural significance, straw foxglove also plays an important role in the ecosystem. Its tubular flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making it an important plant for supporting biodiversity.

One final aspect of straw foxglove worth mentioning is its potential for use in sustainable agriculture. As a member of the Digitalis genus, straw foxglove contains digitalis glycosides, which have been shown to have insecticidal properties. This means that they can be used to control insect pests in crops without the need for synthetic pesticides, which can be harmful to the environment and human health.

In fact, several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of digitalis glycosides as a natural insecticide for controlling pests such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies. Furthermore, since digitalis glycosides are derived from a plant, they can be easily produced and are biodegradable, making them a more sustainable alternative to synthetic pesticides.

Of course, it is important to note that the use of digitalis glycosides as an insecticide is still in the experimental stage, and more research is needed to determine its potential for widespread use. However, the potential benefits of this approach are clear, and it is an exciting development in the field of sustainable agriculture.

In conclusion, straw foxglove is a plant with many different uses and benefits, from its ornamental value to its medicinal properties to its potential for use in sustainable agriculture. Whether you are a gardener, a herbalist, or a scientist, there is much to discover and appreciate about this fascinating plant. So why not take a closer look at straw foxglove today and see what it has to offer?

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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