Fun Flower Facts: Monkshood (Aconitum)


aconitum; MonkshoodMonkshood (Aconitum) is a genus of about 250 species native to the moist mountainous regions of the Northern hemisphere. They are often found in rich, moist soils along streams or in open woods. It is a member of the ranunculus family.

These perennial plants that are cultivated for their beautiful clusters of hooded flowers that come in shades of blue, including  indigo blue, icy blue, lavender and deep blue. While blue is the classic colour, there are some cultivars that will produces blooms in white, yellow, pink and bi-colours. The leaves are dark green, glossy and lobed. Plants have tall leafy stems that can reach 1 – 12 feet tall.

Monkshood flowers and leaves resemble larkspur. To differentiate, look at the stems. Monkshood stems are not hollow like those of larkspur.

Monkshood with its brilliant blue blossoms would be a lovely addition to any garden, adding colour, height and beauty. Even when the plant is not in bloom, the foliage looks attractive. Moreover, monkshood has a long blooming period (from late summer until frost), it is easy to grow and does well in cooler environments. In fact, monkshood does not like hot temperatures.  Their height would be ideal as borders. Monkshood can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It does best in moist, fertile soil.

Tall plants like monkshood often require staking. However, if the monkshoods are exposed to enough sun, they can be quite wind-resistant and do not require staking. In shadier spots, staking may be required.

That being said, as beautiful as the flowers are, all parts of the plants are poisonous, especially the roots. In fact, it is one of the deadliest plants in existence. The poison called aconite can be absorbed through the skin. Keep away from pets and small children.

Climate Zones: 3-7

Fun Flower Facts About Monkshood (Aconitum):

  • Other common names: wolfsbane, Blue Rocket, Friar’s Cap
  • Monkshood is one of the most deadly plants in existence. It’s best to use gloves when handling monkshood, especially if you have cuts or scrapes.
  • Monkshood was one of the first perennials grown as an ornamental plant. It was used in medicinal gardens during the medieval times.
  • Juice from the roots were used to poison arrow tips for hunting wolves and warfare.
  • In some countries, it is considered illegal to cultivate this plant without a permit.

About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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One Response to Fun Flower Facts: Monkshood (Aconitum)

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: Utilizing the Color Spectrum in Your Garden | Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers Presents…

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