Monthly Archives: June 2011

Oh Deer!

Flowers of the Purple Foxglove (Digitalis purp...

Digitalis purpurea

By popular demand, I am expanding my writings on deer resistant plants at least those that my local herds are not now eating.  It is said if a deer is hungry enough it will go after anything, unless they had have a very bad experience with a toxic plant.  If you do not have pets or very small children that are known to experiment by eating plants,  here are some suggestions:

Aconitum or Monkshood.  This is a wonderfully ornamental plant with deeply lobed leaves and deep blue blooms borne on very tall spikes in the summer. Highly toxic however, the use of gloves is recommended when working around this plant, specially Aconitum Nepellus a European native, known to contain some of the most potent poisons of any garden plant.  I must add that despite all the literature in the subject, I have handled this plant quite a few times with no adverse effects.  Deer or  rabbits have never touch it.

Digitalis or Foxglove.  Represented by many species, some biennial and some perennial forming semi-evergreen rosettes.  Flowers are showy but short lived in the perennial species.  The popular biennial, Digitalis purpurea,  generally dies after one season, but reseeds in different parts of the garden.  Unfortunately the offspring may be of unpredictable color.  It is best to buy fresh plants or seeds every year.   Plant leaves are a source of the drug digitalis and are highly poisonous.

Actea and Cimicifuga or Baneberry, Bugbane. Rather tall herbaceous perennials with large ferny attractive leaves.  The flowering stems are tall, upright, slender spikes with many small flower heads that bear dry pods but in some species now known as Actaea Racemosa, produce fleshy white berries. Most species are harmful if eaten and are known to cause skin irritations.  for more deer resistant plants click here.