William Withering, (born March 17, 1741, Wellington, Shropshire, Eng.—died Oct. 6, 1799, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, Warwickshire), English physician best known for his use of extracts of foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) to treat dropsy (), a condition associated with heart failure and characterized by the accumulation of fluid in soft tissues. In sum, foxglove means foxglove, and this disturbing fact has to be accepted. are named after him. R. C. A. Under the right growing conditions, foxglove often lasts longer, blooming another year or two beyond what their … How did it get its name? To my regret, no Scandinavian dictionary I have consulted discusses the Norwegian word. Among other things, Skeat produced an impressive list of Old English plant names with obscure references to animals in them, for example, fowl’s bean, cow-slip (not cow’s lip! A commonly accepted idea is that the name came from the Anglo-Saxon term "foxes glofa," which means "glove of the fox." The Latin name was given by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 because, much more straightforwardly, he thought the flowers looked like the fingertips of gloves. In 1880 there was 1 Foxglove family living in Arizona. I have several cartons full of paper clippings, the fruit of the loom that has been whirring incessantly for more than twenty years: hundreds of short and long articles about lexicographers, with Skeat occupying a place of honor. Talbot (1847). The genus was erected by Carl Linnaeus. It was originally Folksglove - the glove of the 'good folk' or fairies, whose favourite haunts were supposed to be in the deep hollows and woody dells, where the Foxglove delights to grow. Does anyone know why it is called this? This plant contains a compound that has been extracted and named digitalin, which today is used as a heart medication that regulates heart rate and the contractility of the heart. But, if “foxglove” refers to a different plant then almost nothing else that you have written makes any sense, because you then seem to absolutely assume that “foxglove” refers to Digitalis purpurea. There is a kind of grass called fox grass. Like most people who learned so much the hard way (that is, on their own), he despised ignorance, especially when it hid behind pretense and pomposity. The scientific name of foxglove is Digitalis (the best-known variety is Digitalis purpurea), apparently, because it looks like a thimble and can be easily fitted over a finger (Latin digitus “finger”). Now, it’s often grown as an ornamental, but back in the day it, like a lot of plants, it was a popular medicine used to treat everything from the common cold to insanity… despite the fact that it’s pretty darn poisonous. His column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. It is amusing what fierce battles have been fought over the origin of the word foxglove. The flower fuchsia, whose pronunciation is a torture to foreigners, and the color fuchsia (the color of digitalis purpurea!) Send your etymology question to him care of blog@oup.com; he’ll do his best to avoid responding with “origin unknown.” Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS. On the face of it, the word foxglove makes no sense, because foxes do without gloves and even without hands. So let me repeat: foxglove does go back to a word that means exactly this (fox-glove), and all attempts to explain it as a “perversion” of some other compound or phrase are misguided, but the reason for endowing the flower with such an incomprehensible name has not been discovered. ), ox-heal, catmint, and hound’s fennel. The origin of plant names is one of the most interesting areas of etymology. that the Greeks appear to have called it by a name which is different from the above, but not inappropriate, ‘the trumpet flower.’ At least, so I conjecture from the name salvinca applied to it in the middle ages, which is doubtless from the Greek salpigga, a trumpet. This was 100% of all the recorded Foxglove's in the USA. Even The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology cited the nonexistent revbjelde (from the OED), and I see it occasionally surfacing in the Internet (The Century Dictionary did much better). These are chemicals that affect the heart. They created a powder of the leaves and prescribed it for internal cleansing. Click to see full answer Keeping this in consideration, how did the snapdragon get its name? Prior, the author of Popular Names of British Plants (1863), was a first-rate specialist in botany, but not in etymology, and his assertion (foxglove from foxes-glew, allegedly, meaning “folk’s music,” “in reference to the favourite instrument of an earlier time, a ring of bells hung on an arched support, the tintinnabulum, and thus answering to Norwegian Revbielde” [that is, “foxbell”]) is also sheer fantasy. glee), designated the sound of musical instruments, so that the ringing of bells should be dismissed as irrelevant. Once the usefulness of digitalis in regulating the human pulse was understood, it was employed for a variety of purposes, including the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders, which are now considered to be inappropriate treatments. Sign up for our newsletter. Derived from the Greek words "anti," meaning like, and "rhin," meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon's botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-shaped flower.While their actual origin is unknown, it's believed that snapdragons were originally wildflowers in Spain and Italy. Required fields are marked *. Arizona had the highest population of Foxglove … Seriously! Send thanks to the doctor. Fischer Energy changed its name to Foxglove Energy. The names are simply childish, and such as children would be pleased with. Subscribe to Anatoly Liberman’s weekly etymology articles via email or RSS. Anatoly Liberman is the author of Word Origins And How We Know Them as well as An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. History’s little joke connected Fuchs, H. Fox Talbot, and foxglove. I have dealt with henbane, hemlock, horehound, and mistletoe and know how thorny the gentlest flowers may be for a language historian. It is certain that horehound has nothing to do with hounds, and I hope to have shown that henbane did not get its name because it is particularly dangerous to hens (which hardly ever peck at it, and even if they did, why should they have been chosen as the poisonous plant’s preferred victims?). Prior may have found bielde in some dictionary or he may have copied the word with two mistakes. It was first known by the Anglo-Saxon name foxes glofa(the glove of the fox), because its flowers look like the fingers of a glove. By a funny coincidence, the Latin name digitalis was coined in 1542 by Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), a famous scholar and one of the founders of modern botany (German Fuchs means “fox”). This is not the way to understand the workings of the human mind, on which true etymology often throws much unexpected light.” Unfortunately, the Anglo-Saxons were not children, and though, like us, they certainly enjoyed playing with language and inventing “pretty names,” those names cannot be written off as silly or irrational. Yet, it is easily understood. The foxglove gets its name from the old Anglo-Saxon word “foxes-glew,” which means “fox music.” This is apparently because the flowers resemble an ancient hanging bell of the same name. Each of them needs an explanation, and I think Skeat pooh-poohed the question too hastily. The foxglove, Digitalis purpurea is as the name suggests purple shading to white with dark purple blotches. An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction, Tweets that mention OUPblog » Blog Archive » Etymologists at War with a Flower: Foxglove -- Topsy.com, OUPblog » Blog Archive » Walter W. Skeat Faces the World, Prettiest Plant in the Lab: Foxgloves, Digoxin, and Digoxigenin | A bouquet from Mendel, Monthly Gleanings: November 2010 | OUPblog, skynet is alive and well and living in digitopolis | the valley of lost things, The Problem with Digital Twins - Geospatialink, Reputation of Digitalis | Awesome Resources. The Foxglove derives its common name from the shape of the flowers resembling the finger of a glove. Digitalis is poisonous; it can be fatal even in small doses. Fuchsius is also known as Fuchs which means Fox in German and the colour fuchsia, the colour of digitalis purpurea,  is named after him. Less certain is the connection to foxes. Unfortunately, some of them did not follow Dr. Withering’s careful practices. Over the decades after the publication of his book, a great many people died from the improper use of this herb. Herbalists first began experimenting with foxglove centuries ago. The puzzling part is fox-. […], […] species, are favored ornamental plants for their tall showy flower spikes and bright colors. It was such even in Old English (foxes glofa, though the name seems to have been applied to a different plant), so that nothing has been “corrupted,” to use one of the favorite words of 19th-century etymologists, both professional and amateurs. The Latin name, Digitalis, means 'finger-like' and refers to the tubular flowers of the Foxglove. The first year, the plant has leaves that form a rosette close to the ground. A professor (though not burdened with too much teaching, especially by modern standards) and a family man (yet in this area he could not compete with Murray, the father of a whole brood of children), he never flinched at the idea of writing an edifying or indignant letter to the editor, for he was a born enlightener. This explains the whole matter, and it is the reverse of scientific to deny a fact merely because we dislike or contemn [sic] it. Walter W. Skeat broke many a spear defending the simplest etymology (foxglove is fox + glove), but neither he nor anyone else has been able to explain how the Anglo-Saxons came by this name: why fox? 2 doctors agree. He wrote: “… [to us] such names as fox-glove and hare-bell seem senseless, and many efforts, more ingenious than well directed, have been made to evade the evidence. Foxglove PLANT: "foxglove" is the common name for plants from the digitalis species. Or subscribe to articles in the subject area by email or RSS, […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carrie Lucas, Lauren. What Is The Winter Solstice: First Day Of Winter History, Fresh-Cut Pine Tree Smell: Perfect Christmas Tree Memories, Norfolk Island Pine – The Perfect Christmas Tree. The second reason for picking Foxglove Chiropractic as the name is the fact that the foxglove flower, also known as foxglove digitalis, has ties to modern day medicine. How Did the Foxglove Get Its Name? In Dumfriesshire (south-central Scotland), foxglove is called tod-tail, and tod means “fox.” The second element poses no problems, for the bells of this plant bear some resemblance to fingers. The plant is called in French gantelée (little glove); in Latin, digitalis, and in German, fingerhut (thimble). This name is also thought to be related to a northern legend t… Our Privacy Policy sets out how Oxford University Press handles your personal information, and your rights to object to your personal information being used for marketing to you or being processed as part of our business activities. One wonders again what the fox has to do with our flower, but first a correction and a warning. Zeus had to transform the student into a beautiful flower when he showed more promise than his teacher and incurred his wrath. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford University Press'sAcademic Insights for the Thinking World. In England, only Murray, the editor of the OED, and Henry Sweet were his equals, and in Germany, only Eduard Sievers. I never could get my head around that when I was a young 'un. Some may say it’s a little bit too naturalized, as it’s labeled an “invasive and noxious weed” by the USDA. How did it get its name? A child only wants a pretty name, and is glad to connect a plant with a more or less familiar animal. According to The Century Dictionary, Fuchs called the flower digitalis inspired by German Fingerhut “foxglove.” French gantelée was already known in the 13th century. Required fields are marked *. If you did not have any acute symptoms at the time, it is unlikely you have ... Read More. In order to have more foxglove plants the next year, the flowers need to be allowed to bloom and set seed. Basil is called by many names like sweet basil or even Thai basil, but all of its common names refer to the herb's botanical name, Ocimum basilicum. 0. But eventually, its administration was standardized, an extract was made, and digitalis—as it … Now, in the days of our ancestors, as every one knows, these little elves were called in English ‘the good folks.’ No doubt, then, these flowers were called ‘the good folks’ gloves’, a name since shortened into foxgloves [sic]. Anatoly Liberman's column on word origins, The Oxford Etymologist, appears on the OUPblog each Wednesday. Most types of foxglove plants are grouped with the biennials in the field of botany. The Norwegian for foxglove is revebjælle or revebjølle (one letter in the middle is missing from Prior’s form). “One of the queerest crazes in English etymology,” says Skeat, “is the love of paradox, which is often carried to such an extent that it is considered mean, if not despicable, to accept an etymology that is obvious.” He cited attempts to invent a clever explanation of foxglove as an instance of the “queer craze.” But, with due respect to the great scholar, it must be said that obvious etymologies are often wrong, that foxglove causes legitimate surprise, and that folk etymology is the result of speakers’ healthy rebellion against the impenetrability of the words we use (or the conventional, seemingly arbitrary nature of the sign, as linguists put it). This is because it can have some health benefits, particularly as a heart stimulant. 1 thank. This day has arrived. All members of the genus Delphinium are toxic to humans and livestock. The Latin name was given by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 because, much more straightforwardly, he thought the flowers looked like the fingertips of gloves. They noted a constellation of side effects, ranging from vomiting to death, and described foxglove as a … Overview Information Foxglove is a plant. Fireweed is a native plant thats found throughout the temperate northern hemisphere including some areas in the boreal forests. Native to Western and Central Europe, the foxglove is now naturalized all over. Your email address will not be published. You can see how Foxglove families moved over time by selecting different census years. The company has not only changed its name - it’s also shifted its focus to renewable energy and now provides 100% renewable electricity that is sourced from wind farms. It may have gained popularity after the publication of the book English Etymologies by William Henry Fox (!) The moral: one should never copy foreign words without looking them up in good contemporary sources. Thus, a few wrong etymologies have been debunked, but what the sly fox has to do with the foxglove remains a mystery. Regardless of the solution, reading Skeat is always a pleasure, and I will probably devote a post to a selection of quotes from his letters to the editor. But none of that kept it from being a very popular medicine in Europe in the 18th century. The Foxglove family name was found in the USA in 1880. The idea to trace foxglove to folk’s (or folks’) glove is relatively recent. It is also the name of the drug that comes from the toxins of Foxgloves and is prescribed for heart conditions. Digitalis is an example of a drug derived from a plant that was formerly used by herbalists; herbalists have largely abandoned its use because of its narrow therapeutic index and the difficulty of determining the amount of active drug in herbal preparations. Your email address will not be published. As a thank you for joining our campaign, we’ll gift you our brand new eBook,. The origin of plant names is one of the most interesting areas of etymology. A disputed but appealing origin for the name was advanced by William Henry Fox Talbot, who proposed that the whimsical ye […], […] telling me, for example, about a visit of a fox in the correspondent’s garden (in connection with my post on foxglove). Hopefully, it’ll help make your holiday season as special as possible. Did you know? Talbot, the inventor of photography, to whom I have once referred in this blog, was a well-read and talented man, but it would have been better if he had not written a book on word origins. CC0 via Pixabay. He chose as his perennial target was the inability of his countrymen to understand that etymology is a science rather than mildly intelligent guesswork. Featured image: Foxglove. Origins of Basil . It is worthy of remark, [note the comma!] In addition to what was said before, it may be reminded that these flowers are called in Teviotdale [Scotland] witches’ thimbles, agreeing partly with the Welsh; the witches, however, taking the place of the fairies.”. How to install fix microsoft edge,just click this website windows edge not working sometime people can't use this web browser. It’s even been known to cause heart and kidney problems. Also, at his time, the literary norm in Norway required that Norwegian words be spelled according to the rules of Danish orthography, and the Danish for bell is bjælde. 1. Since then, certain chemicals found in foxgloves have been isolated and used to make drugs that promote heart health. foxesclofe has also been pressed into service, but cl- would not have yielded gl-. A self-educated man in everything that concerned the history of Germanic, he became the greatest expert in Old and Middle English and an incomparable etymologist. According to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension, "The name foxglove is from the old English name "foxes glofa." Old Engl. I have dealt with henbane, hemlock, horehound, and mistletoe and know how thorny the gentlest flowers may be for a language historian. Let’s learn more about foxglove flower history. Legend has it that a botanist Fuchs first named it and the name corrupted or morphed into foxglove, according to Foxglove’s Latin name, Digitalis, comes from the word digitus, meaning “finger,” and believe it or not that has nothing to do with gloves. The honey bees and carpenter bees love it, as does a single earwig, which apparently considers it its "hidey hole." The honey bees and carpenter bees love it, as does a single earwig, which apparently considers it its "hidey hole." The Leicester-based energy supplier now partners with Ørsted – a global leader in offshore wind energy from Denmark. The common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea thrives in a shady spot in our yard. The foxglove is not at all good to eat, and while some parts are less toxic than others, all parts of this plant can cause vomiting, nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. See more about it below. Fireweed is an important plant for honey producers as it attracts the bees and hummingbirds as … Foxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea, is a common biennial garden plant that contains digitoxin, digoxin, and other cardiac glycosides. Asked By Wiki User. An echo of the once well-known tale, North Germanic or Classical? In Great Britain it also earned the name bombweed due to the rapid colonization of land that was bombed during WWII. Isoplexis is part of the same family as foxglove (scrophulariaceae); in fact it was once classified under the genus digitalis. So, this holiday season, we created a giving campaign for two of our favorite non-profits who are working to help put food on the tables of hungry families across the U.S. and around the world. Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Beware of etymologists who pepper their explanations with no doubt, undoubtedly, obviously, and the like. They are great garden plants for shady borders and woodland gardens. Joseph Wright, another autodidact, the editor of the English Dialect Dictionary, was interested in many things outside English philology, but for Skeat English remained the prime object of research all his life. The Peony takes its name from the mythological Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine known as Asclepius. The foxglove gets its name from the old Anglo-Saxon word “foxes-glew,” which means “fox music.” This is apparently because the flowers resemble an ancient hanging bell of the same name. Digitopolis, it […], “It was such even in Old English (foxes glofa, though the name seems to have been applied to a different plant), so that nothing has been ‘corrupted,’”. Glew, or rather gliew (Modern Engl. ... How did chickenpox get its name? Description Foxglove is a source of digitalis prescribed by doctors to strengthen the heart and regulate its beat. This means no deadheading spent flowers or you will not get seeds. With regard to foxglove, he remarked: “…everyone writes on etymology, more especially such as do not understand it.” How true, how very true! It was the original source of the drug called digitalis. It’s thought the ‘glove’ part of the name is simply due to the flowers looking like glove fingers. […] fairies… little folk’s fingers… folk’s… fox… foxgloves… it’s a well-known etymologist’s nightmare. It earned its name because this plant is the first colonizer in the soil after forest fires. Morphology: Common Foxglove is a short lived perennial in the Pacific Northwest (biennial in colder regions) whose flower stalks can grow to a height of 3’-5’. Symbolism of the Peony Flower. Molecular data show that Consolida, as well as another segregate genus, Aconitella, are both embedded in Delphinium. Guilty of what Shakespeare in Sonnet 62 called the sin of self-love, I particularly relish […], […] made a brief, unhelpful excursion into the etymology of digitalis then a Google search,  quickly led me to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea thrives in a shady spot in our yard. Basil is a member of the large mint family, or Lamiaceae family, along with other culinary herbs like rosemary, sage, and even lavender. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. I’ll move […], […] nomenclature of plants in 1542. Although the parts of the plant that grow above the ground can be used for medicine, foxglove is unsafe for self-medication. Legend has it that a botanist Fuchs first named it and the name corrupted or morphed into foxglove, according to I’d recommend an article from the OUP blog by Anatoly Liberman (link HERE), who sifts through the various (unfounded) theories, and concludes that there is no definitive […], Your email address will not be published. The history of foxglove plants is a strange study in language. Your email address will not be published. Plant taxonomy classifies the most commonly grown foxglove plants as Digitalis purpurea. Did they slip one over each toe, and why? Foxgloves? So those old doctors were onto something, but they would frequently accidentally kill their patients with their foxglove medicine, so for crying out loud, don’t cut yourself any leaves to do some DIY heart care. And we know dog rose and wolfsbane, to mention just a few oddities. Lauren said: : ) MT @hush6: (Fox) gloves off! With our brand new eBook, featuring our favorite DIY projects for the whole family, we really wanted to create a way to not only show our appreciation for the growing Gardening Know How community, but also unite our community to help every one of our neighbors in need during these unprecedented times. http://bit.ly/dqWnQQ #etymology […], […] Last week I wrote that one day I would reproduce some memorable statements from Skeat’s letters to the editors. Linnaeus’ real family name had been Ingermarsson. We read the following in it: “In Welsh this flower is called by the beautiful name of maneg ellyllon, or the fairies’ glove. The origins of the name foxglove are unclear, but can be traced all the way back to the Anglo-Saxon period. In Scandinavian dialects, the name means foxes-bell. Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. 0 comment. The common name larkspur is shared between perennial Delphinium species and annual species of the genus Consolida. It's uncertain how the name of the foxglove plant was derived, but there are two main theories. Fushsius gave the flower its […], […] the origins of the name. It was his father who had taken the Latin name of Linnaeus in keeping with the fashion of the day for scholarly or important people to choose a classical name, or to “Latinize the patronymic.” He had chosen the name in honor of the linden or lime trees which graced the family homestead. Foxglove is a native of Europe. The second (and final) year, it develops a spike with blooms. We will only use your personal information to register you for OUPblog articles. Belief in fairies, as in Midsummer Night’s Dream, has no roots in Old English, so all talk about good folk’s glove(s) lacks foundation. The Century Dictionary gives several names of the Digitalis: fox-fingers, ladies’ fingers, and even dead-men’s bells. 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