Digitalis purpurea

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaScrophulariaceaeDigitalisDigitalis purpurea


A biennial or short-lived perennial, common on acidic soils in hedge banks, open woods and woodland clearings, on heath and moorland margins, river banks, montane rocky slopes, sea-cliffs, walls and waste land. It is often found in great abundance in disturbed or burnt areas, such as recently felled forestry plantations. 0-880 m (Mt Brandon, S. Kerry).



World Distribution

Suboceanic Southern-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© M. Cotterill, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 4

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1120

Life form information

Height (cm): 150

Perennation - primary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2555

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 797

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 13

Atlas Change Index: 0.72

Weighted Changed Factor: 10

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (227d)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.