Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Spring highlight: Foxglove tree

Posted: May 31, 2021 at 13:09 pm Author: Jo Murray Marketing and Communications Officer

This month we’re showcasing a highly decorative specimen, the Foxglove Tree. With four species of this tree located in the arboretum, you’ll want to seek them out to experience these ornamental beauties.


The Foxglove tree is originally from western and central China where it was customary to plant this tree when the Empress gave birth to a child. This species is an extremely fast-growing tree and can now be found widely in North America and Europe.Foxglove tree

Fun fact: This tree’s capsule fruits produce around two thousand winged seeds, which historically were used as a packing material by Chinese porcelain exporters.


At its largest, this tree can reach heights of 25 metres. Its five-lobed leaves are large and heart-shaped, arranged in opposite pairs on the stem.

The fragrant flowers are foxglove-shaped, ranging in colour from purple and blue to white and cream yellow. These large flowers bloom before the leaves in early spring.

At Westonbirt

'We currently have mature specimens of four species of Foxglove trees also known as Empress/Princess trees (Paulownia elongata, P. tomentosa, P. fortunei and P. kawakamii). They are all spectacular trees, flowering from previous year flower buds in foot-long erected panicles.

The must-see specimens at Westonbirt are our Paulownia kawakamii and Paulownia elongata, flowering from late April through May.' Michal Dvorak, Dendrologist, Forestry England

Find them on the arboretum explorer...

Foxglove tree

Continue to fill your heart and soul with nature's beauty and discover some of the world's most striking and beautiful trees with a visit to Westonbirt!

Read another tree of the month blog here…

Book your ticket to visit Westonbirt Arboretum here...