Foxglove

Name

Foxglove

Latin

Digitalis

Secret Meaning

A Wish or Insincerity

Alternative Names:

Fairy Gloves, Witches’ Gloves, Dead Men’s Bells, Fairy’s Glove, Gloves of Our Lady, Bloody Fingers, Virgin’s Glove, Fairy Caps, and Fairy Thimbles

Facts & Folkore:

Also known as Fairy Gloves, Witches’ Gloves, Dead Men’s Bells, Fairy’s Glove, Gloves of Our Lady, Bloody Fingers, Virgin’s Glove, Fairy Caps, and Fairy Thimbles, the name foxglove is a portmanteau of uncertain origin.

Henry Fox Talbot (1847) proposed "folks' glove" where folk means the fairy folk, for whom these flowers are much associated with regarding charms and spells. Similarly, R. C. A. Prior (1863) suggested that an etymology of "foxes-glew", meaning 'fairy music'. However, neither of these suggestions account for the Old English form foxes glofa.

Foxglove flowers have long been used in folklore for evocation of elves, fairies, or other earth elementals.

Planting foxglove is an invitation to fairies to enter your garden, and wearing foxglove useful as a charm to attract fairy energy. However, as fairies are known to be capricious and as likely to trick, wreak havoc, or inflict mischief on mortals more often than to aid them, this flower also grants protection. The leaves are said to grant release from fairy enchantment as well as the juice of the plant.

Foxglove is well known for the group of medicines extracted from it called digitalin. Its use in English-speaking medical literature in 1785, marks the beginning of modern therapeutics for heart conditions.

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