foxglove flower meaning

Foxglove Flower Meaning and Symbolism

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The foxglove flower, or Digitalis, is not the most common flower you will see in a backyard garden. However, in recent years, it has grown in popularity. Could that perhaps be because of this flower’s deep hidden meaning?

If you’re curious about the symbolic meaning of the foxglove plant, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the symbolism behind the foxglove flower.

What Does Foxglove Mean?

The common name for this flower, foxglove, is most directly tied to folklore. The flower’s name is a loose derivative of the phrase, “folk’s gloves” with “folk” referring to fairy folk. Some people believed that the fox wore these flowers as gloves so that he would not be caught while ransacking a chicken coop.

Other folklore insists that picking foxglove flowers is offensive to fairy folk. Probably, this was a story told to small children to prevent them from picking and eating the poisonous plant.

Still, other traditions hold that the foxglove’s name comes from its similarities to an ancient musical instrument known as the fox’s glew. It does, after all, have an iconic bell shape. 

The scientific name for foxglove is “digitalis.” This name is a direct reference to the powerful chemicals in the plant that, when taken correctly, can heal and resolve many heart conditions – but when taken in excess, can be deadly. 

Because of this dichotomy, the flower is often referred to as witches gloves and dead man’s bells, too. 

What Do Foxgloves Symbolize?

Foxgloves are unique flowers in that they have strong symbolic meaning – both in a positive and negative way. The flowers are often associated with insincerity, and have the ability to evoke meanings that can both hurt and heal. 

They can be used to symbolize a variety of other themes, too, including pride, energy, magic, ambition, intuition, and creativity. They are often used to symbolize productivity, communication, cooperation, and confidence, too. 

What is the Cultural Significance of a Foxglove?

There is plenty of cultural heritage tied to the foxglove flower. In addition to the popularly traded folk traditions detailed above, the foxglove flower was often grown in medieval gardens dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Here, foxglove was referred to as “Our Lady’s Gloves,” or “the gloves of the Virgin.” 

What is the Symbolism of a Foxglove Tattoo?

The delicate foxglove isn’t an image that’s chosen often for tattoos. However, when this tattoo is selected (most often by women), it usually symbolizes accomplishment and confidence in this accomplishment.

It can also be used to represent the innocence of childhood and its accompanying sense of imagination.

When Should You Give Someone a Foxglove?

Foxglove flowers are not given as gifts very often, probably because of their potential toxicity. If you are going to give someone a foxglove flower, why not give them a few seeds so they can try growing their own?

There are many types of foxglove flowers out there, including those in the Camelot series and Dalmation series. These flowers bloom in late spring to early summer and can be found in all kinds of colors, including white, purple, and pink.

There are many purple flowering plants you can grow in your garden and purple foxglove flowers seem to be one of the favorites for gardeners.

*Photo by edb3_16/depositphotos

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