REPORT IF SEEN: Contact BIISC to schedule a free removal
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was recently discovered growing on the edge of a critical conservation zone on the Big Island. As a bi-annual, foxglove begins life as just a small rosette of fuzzy leaves until the second year when the massive stalk rises and profusely blooms. While in the rosette stage, the population can go unnoticed. This was likely the case with this population: the plant went unnoticed or had not germinated yet during previous plant surveys, keeping it off the radar until botanists happened upon the plant during flowering season in a lucky break. This white flower was obviously out of place and raised the alarm!
Foxglove had not been documented as naturalized anywhere in the state. However, it has been cultivated in Hawaii as far back as 1948. Somehow, it made its way to a native forested area far from residential homes after all those years. Although close by was a patch of ground bulldozed more than four years prior, it was unknown how the foxglove got there.
- One plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds per flowering season
- Seeds remain viable yet dormant for 5 or more years
- Seeds are dispersest ballistically, by water and by wind
- Forms dense thickets that displace native species
- Poisonous to humans and some animals
- A basal rosette of light green, oblong leaves in the first year from seed
- Flowers are borne in the second year in terminal
- Tubular, funnel-shaped, white flowers with purple and white spots inside are closely grouped along each spike.
- Rounded fruit capsule splits open at maturity to release the numerous small brown, ridged seeds
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
BIISC’s Control Efforts
BIISC staff uses mechanical methods to eradicate this plant. A few times of year the site is visited and all new recruits are pulled up. Because the seeds remain dormant yet viable for 5 or more years, eradication won’t officially be declared until at least 2025.