Not indigenous to Chile, this plant has become naturalized over much of this region. I can only imagine it was brought over by the German immigrants in the 1860’s as they also brought blackberries which have become naturalized as well. We have found several plants growing in the woods on our farm but they can also be seen growing along fence lines. La campanilla is spanish for bells.
This plant has many charming old names from the British Isles like “bloody fingers”, “deadman’s bells” (probably referring to the deadly nature of the poison found in these delicate blossoms), “fairy-folks-fingers” and “lambs tongue leaves”. Foxglove is probably a corruption of folksglove.
All parts of the plant are poisonous containing a cardiac glycoside known as digitoxin which causes cardiac arrest. The plant was used by doctors before the advent of modern medecine but there was a fine line between a dose to cure and a dose to kill.
The plant is biennial meaning it grows leaves only the first year and then flowers and set seeds the second year.