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Foxglove (Family Scrophulariaceae)

 

The Scrophulariaceae, the Foxglove or Figwort Family, is a family of

flowering plants. The plants are annual and perennial herbs, as well as

one genus of shrubs. Members of the Scrophulariaceae have a cosmo-

politan distribution, with the majority found in temperate areas, includ-

ing tropical mountains. The family name is based on the name of the

included Genus Scrophularia L.

 

In the past it was treated as including about 275 genera and over 5,000

species, but its circumscription has been radically altered. Many genera

have recently been transferred to other families within the Lamiales, not-

ably Plantaginaceae and Orobanchaceae but also several new families.

Several families of the Lamiales have had their circumscriptions enlarged

to accommodate genera transferred from Scrophulariacae. Current

Scrophulariaceae taxonomic classification includes about 2800 species

200 genera.

 

The name was derived from European species of Scrophularia, the com-

mon figwort. The plants were used to treat hemorrhoids, which were

known as “figs”. Figworts were also used to treat scrofula, a form of

tuberculosis carried in the milk of infected cows. Except for the fox-

glove (Digitalis), the source of the heart stimulant digitalis, none of the

members of this family is of noteworthy economic importance, but many,

like the penstemons, are cultivated for their handsome flowers.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Tree Families and Species

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