Digitalis purpurea - L.
Purple Foxglove
Other Common Names: purple foxglove
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Digitalis purpurea L. (TSN 33585)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.129326
Element Code: PDSCR0M040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Figwort Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Scrophulariales Scrophulariaceae Digitalis
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Digitalis purpurea
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (11Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Montana (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AKexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, IDexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MTexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada BCexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Given it's propensity to escape cultivation, it is likely that Digitalis purpurea could become much more widespread.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 13Apr2004
Evaluator: Fellows, M.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Western Europe (Bossard et al. 2000).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Stands of Digitalis purpurea are not a good fuel source, but they typically establish in stands that do not burn frequently (Bossard et al. 2000).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: Biennial forb (Kartesz 1999), from knee-high to head-high (Bossard et al. 2000). Forms dense patches (Bossard et al. 2000).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: Displaces native vegetation (Bossard et al. 2000).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Unknown

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Unknown
Comments: Can invade wetlands (Kartesz 1999).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Disjunct geography, in Northeast and Pacific Coastal regions (including AK) (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Rare and local as an escape in West Virginia (Strausbaugh 1978).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Possibly present in 30 ecoregions (inferred from Kartesz 1999; TNC 2001). Reported from only 5 ecoregions in CA (Bossard et al. 2000).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Can invade wetlands (Kartesz 1999). Open woodland, pastures, roadsides, disturbed places (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Unknown

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Potential to thrive any where that does not have high humidity (Bossard et al. 2000).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: It is a cultivated ornamental (Bossard et al. 2000). Dispersed by wind and water (Bossard et al. 2000).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Low significance
Comments: 0.35 counties/year is estimated spread rate (Rice 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Regularly escapes cultivation (Bossard et al. 2000). Soil disturbance greatly increases establishment (Bossard et al. 2000).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Present in Canada (Kartesz 1999). Also a weed in Spain, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand and moist and wet sclerophyll forest, riparian and rainforests in Australia (Csurhes and Edwards 1998).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Abundant seeds (Bossard et al. 2000). Seed bank is viable at least 5 years (Bossard et al. 2000).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Hand pulling (or just removal of the flowers) is effective if flower stalks are destroyed (Bossard et al. 2000). Mowing will have to be repeated before resprouts set seed (Bossard et al. 2000). Extended contact with leaves could cause adverse reactions in workers (Bossard et al. 2000).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Control efforts required for at least 5 years (Bossard et al. 2000).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Hand pulling has few effects on non-target plants (Bossard et al. 2000).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:High significance
Comments: It is a valuable cultivated ornamental (Bossard et al. 2000).

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, and M. Hoshovsky. (eds.) 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Csurhes, S. and R. Edwards. 1998. Potential Environmental Weeds in Australia. Appendix C, in Candidate Species for Preventitive Control. National Weeds Program, Queensland Department of Natural Resources. Online. Accessed 2004.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, December, 1996.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Rice, P. 2003. Invaders Database System. Risk Assessment for Potentially Noxious Species in Idaho and Montana. ONLINE Accessed 2003, December and 2004.

  • Strausbaugh, P.D., and E. L. Core. [1978]. Flora of West Virginia, Parts I-IV. West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia. 2753 pp. [Book undated, date '1978' from Castanea review (fide L. Morse), correct TNC source code is 'B78STR01HQUS'.]

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

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