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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Foxglove (digitalis pupurea) and Honey

    Hi folks,

    Thought it was about time I dropped in and dropped off another oddball question for the forum to chew on.

    Do we have any botanists on the list?

    I'm considering adding a few Foxglove and Great Blue Lobelia plants to our English Garden in the front of the house, but both are toxic to humans; especially Foxglove.

    I'd like to know:

    a) Are the toxins present in the nectar of these flowers?

    b) There are rumours about that claim that the girls somehow 'process' the toxins out of the nectar of human-poisonous flowers when making honey. Is there any truth to this?

    \"It is an Ill Wind that Blows no Minds...\"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Olympia, Washington

    Default Re: Foxglove (digitalis pupurea) and Honey

    I'm not a botanist, but I do know this.
    just because a substance is poison at one reat of ingestion does not mean it will harm you a much lower dosage.

    Consider how many medicines there are, or even life-essential chemicals like salt that heal (in the case of some medicines) or sustain life (in the case of salt) that are toxic to the point of being deadly when the dose is too much.

    Just because something is labeled a toxin doesn't mean it is always toxic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Belgrade, MT

    Default Re: Foxglove (digitalis pupurea) and Honey

    The adult dose of digitalis glycosides is 0.125mg or .25 mg daily for the treatment of congestive heart failure. Small amounts are very useful. Digitalis is contained in and extracted from the leaves and not in the flowers. Grows wild here but never see a bee on it. It was my drug of choice in under grad and grad school. 40+ years of pharmacy and better living thru chemistry.
    Peter W., Belgrade, MT, Elv. 4420 Zone 4a
    Sheepshank Honey, 6 yrs & 33 hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    crawford cnty. pa

    Default Re: Foxglove (digitalis pupurea) and Honey

    After having 1000's upon 1000's of foxgloves growing in my gardens and yard. I've never seen a honey bee on one that I can remember, bumbles and masons yes but honey bees no.
    I'd also think that having just a few in your garden will not effect your honey anyway. I'd say plant them and enjoy. Just remeber that foxgloves are biannuals meaning that any seedlings growing in their 1st year probably won't bloom.


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