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Plant Profile: Straw Foxglove (Digitalis lutea)

Also called small yellow foxglove, this short-lived perennial is a member of the plantain family, Plantaginaceae that also includes snapdragon, turtlehead, and Veronica.  It is native to southern Europe and northwest Africa but was introduced in to the US and can now be found wild in such habitats as weedy meadows  and open woodlands.  The plants  have a taproot and  grow 2-3.5′ tall at maturity.  They form a rosette the first year and then in the second year produce a tall flowering stem with sessile leaves  that are oblong to lanceolate, have serrated margins, and are 4-6″ long.  The tubular  1″ long flowers are nodding, pale yellow,  and appear in terminal one sided  racemes 12 to 18″ long in late spring to summer.  These flowers are less showy than some of the other foxgloves but are attractive in cottage and informal gardens. The genus name, Digitalis, comes from the Latin word digitus meaning finger and refers to the appearance of the flowers.  The specific epithet, lutea, is the Latin word for yellow and refers to the color of the flowers.

Type: Short-lived perennial

Bloom: Nodding, tubular flowers on 12-18″ long one sided racemes in late spring to summer

Size: 2-3.5′ x 1′ W

Light: Part sun to part shade

Soil:Fertile, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Aphids, eelworms, leaf spot, powdery mildew

Propagation: Seed, division in spring

Companion Plants:Ferns, hosta, columbine, Dicentra


Photo Credit: Isidre blanc Wikimedia Commons