Erik Thorn measures his prize foxglove with a 10-foot long rod that has a yardstick attached on the end. The monster foxglove has reached over 11 feet (or 3.3 metres) when it stands straight up in the morning, he says. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Erik Thorn measures his prize foxglove with a 10-foot long rod that has a yardstick attached on the end. The monster foxglove has reached over 11 feet (or 3.3 metres) when it stands straight up in the morning, he says. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay couple might have world’s tallest foxglove

Duo pleased with 11-foot Digitalus purpurea

It’s not uncommon for foxgloves to grow beyond the average height of about four to six feet.

But it is rare enough that even Ken Marr, the botany curator at the Royal B.C. Museum, called an 11-foot foxglove in the backyard of Miriam and Erik Thorn’s Oak Bay garden a flower “on steroids.”

As it stands, Erik has measured the foxglove, or Digitalis purpurea, in his backyard at over 11 feet in the morning, somewhere around 3.35 meters.

READ ALSO: ‘It’s weird,’ early blooming daffodils spotted in Greater Victoria

“The time to measure it is early, when it stands straight up,” said Erik, from his back garden on St. Patrick Street. “By 10 a.m. it leans over to follow the sun.”

Of course, the flower is still growing and could end up over 12 feet, Erik noted. It was when the Thorns’ son visited recently, and Googled the Digitalus purpurea, that they realized how rare a specimen they might have in their own garden. Two to three metre high foxgloves are heard of, but the tallest foxglove in the Guinness Book of World Records is 10 feet, 10 inches (about 3.3 metres).

“We’ve had this garden since 1965. We’ve never had a foxglove like this,” Miriam said.

Marr confirmed the specimen is Digitalus purpurea based on photos shared by Oak Bay News.

“I’ve not seen plants this tall myself, though two-plus metres wouldn’t surprise me,” he said.

READ ALSO: Match-making service connects gardeners with plots

Digitalis purpurea is poisonous and can be highly dangerous though in the right doses, is used for heart medicine.

At this time, the Thorns have no interest in attempting to have the foxglove registered by the Guinness Book of World Records but they are proud of the flower that they planted from seeds.

“We love having foxgloves and hollyhocks about our garden, they are lovely,” Miriam said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

oak bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Erik Thorn measures his prize foxglove with a 10-foot long rod that has a yardstick attached on the end. The monster foxglove has reached over 11 feet (or 3.3 metres) when it stands straight up in the morning, he says. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Erik Thorn measures his prize foxglove with a 10-foot long rod that has a yardstick attached on the end. The monster foxglove has reached over 11 feet (or 3.3 metres) when it stands straight up in the morning, he says. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read