DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Biennial Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) in a meadow. Foxgloves contain a poisonous chemical, digitalin. Consuming the plant causes vomiting, hallucinations and death from disorganised pumping of the heart. In modern medicine, drugs based on the poison are used to treat heart failure, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and fibrillation (rapid, disorganised heartbeat). The most commonly-used drugs derived from the foxglove are digoxin and digitoxin. The foxglove is a common plant throughout much of Europe. It grows on waste land and in woods. It can produce flower spikes over a metre tall. Photographed near the coast at Bocastle in Cornwall, England.
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