Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea) is definitely a descriptive name for this native wildflower. The blossoms are large, white with a blue or lavender tinge, and shaped just like a glove, boot, or sac. This perennial has a thick, tuberous root, which helps it survive the scorching dry summers, during which it whithers back and looks rather dead. However, in the late winter, it sends forth a thick, compact clump of leaves and a tall stem laden with buds. Once they open, they are usually so top heavy that rain or a strong wind will knock them over. Large seed pods form and the plant gradually dies back.
Although a lot of small seeds are produced, we've not had much luck getting them to germinate. While foxglove plants do very well in untended, dry areas, they barely hang on in our gardens, probably because of lack of sufficient sunlight.
Other names for foxglove are fairy thimbles, beardtongue, dewflower and wild belladonna. Supposedly, its leaves can be brewed in a tea that is used as a laxative.