greentapestry : Flight of Fancy

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Flight of Fancy

F IS FOR?


FOLKLORE AND FOXGLOVES!

There is a wealth of fascinating folklore associated with many of our favourite flowers. Some of these fables are fanciful whilst others are factual ~ all are great fun to read.

Each year I look forward to the fabulous markings of digitalis purpurea or the foxglove to use its most well known common name. The generic name derives from the Latin digitabulum 'a thimble' ~ a reference to the shape of the flowers, whilst purpurea alludes to their purple colour. It is thought that the common name is from 'fox's glove' but another version is that the name is a corruption of 'folksglove' i.e. the glove of the good folk or fairies who occupy woody dells alongside the flowers. Foxgloves have a number of other names including 'Our Lady's gloves', 'fairy fingers', 'fox fingers' and in Wales 'elf fingers'. Its more sinister names include 'Deadmen's Bells, 'Bloody Fingers' and 'Witches Gloves' which remind us of the plants highly toxic properties.

The foxglove is apparently unlucky if sighted in the house or on a ship and those who hear the 'Deadmens Bells' ring will not be for this world for much longer.

If you fancy reading more on this subject 'Discovering The Folklore of Plants' by Margaret Baker is full of fantastic information.

Why don't you fly over now to ABC Wednesday for further information and frivolity featuring the letter F ?

19 comments:

  1. Not suprised Foxgloves are the subject of folklore and superstition. I guess it's often like that for things associated with woods. Love them though. Certainly won't bring them in the house or take them on my ship mind!

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  2. Love your post for the F Day! The flowers are gorgeous and the history/folklore is fascinating! Lovely captures and colors! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

    Sylvia

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  3. Fantastic foto of the foxglove and fascinating folklore to go along with it. Have a fun-filled week,

    Leslie
    ABCW Team

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  4. Dear Anna, I do think that Foxgloves are rather fabulous.....especially white ones.

    I have so enjoyed reading your folklore of the Foxglove and shall follow up the book you mention.

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  5. I love foxgloves and grow them in my gardens. I have never heard them ring. :))

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  6. Lovely flower, flower tale.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  7. One of my very favourites! Thanks for the stories - I love that stuff. :)

    I have planted them here in bloom but, sadly, they didn't seem to reseed. I guess I will have to treat them as an annual because I do love them.

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  8. Fancy Flower Folklore. Such a pretty flower to have such destructive forces. Great post for the letter F.

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  9. the image is breath taking,
    Cheers.

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  10. I love the folklore which is associated with flowers, there's plenty of Foxglove tales, I think that's the case when something is so toxic.

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  11. I love foxgloves too, and the fact that digitalis is still used in medicine today. I lost a lot of my seedlings so won't have as many as I'd hoped this year, but bought seed to make sure I have lots next. When I was little I used to imagine fairies making their skirts out of foxglove flowers, though they would have to be rather risque fairies to show off the beautiful speckling...

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  12. They are the perfect cottage garden flower - I love to watch when they are visited by Bumblebees. Lots of loud buzzing magnified by the trumpets!

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  13. How beautiful they are! Interesting folklore - I'll read more!

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  14. Hi Anna,
    I would love to contact you via email. Please let me know via reply if this is possible.

    Thanks a bunch

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  15. This flower seems to have inspired the imagination in all countries it's native to. In Germany it's most commonly called "red thimble" (roter Fingerhut), but it has many other fanciful names as well. I'm always amazed to encounter this exotic looking flower in the forest. Nice post.

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  16. Thanks all for your comments ~ it seems that foxgloves are a universal favourite. Mey ~ you can contact me via thegreentapestry@googlemail.com :)

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  17. wow, this is beautiful :)
    have time to see mine :)

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  18. Hi Anna - was away for ABC theme but am frightfully impressed with your Fanciful post. Seeing these Digitalis makes me curse even more for not seeding anew last year and shall miss their freckly faces. Much of this info was new to me and thanks for the Baker reference. Am not being fanciful when I tell you that the first time I planted these in the garden, a fox dug a hole there
    Laura

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  19. Wow!!!! What a Beautiful flower...I like it! it is like a flower of heaven! :) Thank for the post.

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.