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 Aconitum subsp. var.  Badger's bane, Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Aconite
Aconitum variegatum
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial, biennial
Poisonous: all parts
Exposure: sun, part-sun
Water: moderate
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 10 to
Sunset Zones: 1-9, 14-21, 34-45
Flower features:
Ranunculaceae > Aconitum var. ,

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Aconitum (pronounced /ˌækəˈnaɪtəm/ A-co-ní-tum[1]), known as aconite, monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard's bane, women's bane, Devil's helmet or blue rocket,[2] is a genus of flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). There are over 250 species of Aconitum.

These herbaceous perennial plants are chiefly natives of the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere, growing in moisture retentive but well draining soils on mountain meadows. Their dark green leaves lack stipules. They are palmate or deeply palmately lobed with 5–7 segments. Each segment again is 3-lobed with coarse sharp teeth. The leaves have a spiral or alternate arrangement. The lower leaves have long petioles.

These are handsome plants, the tall, erect stem being crowned by racemes of large and eye-catching blue, purple, white, yellow or pink zygomorphic flowers with numerous stamens. They are distinguishable by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood. There are 2–10 petals, in the form of nectaries. The two upper petals are large. They are placed under the hood of the calyx and are supported on long stalks. They have a hollow spur at their apex, containing the nectar. The other petals are small and scale like or non forming. The 3–5 carpels are partially fused at the base.

The fruit is a follicle, a follicle being a dry, unilocular, many-seeded fruit formed from one carpel, and dehiscing by the ventral suture in order to release seeds.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
Northern Blue Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense)

Aconitum. Ranunculaceae. Aconite. Monkshood. Wolfsbane. A group of hardy ornamental, perennial herbs, much used in borders and masses for their showy flowers and effective foliage.

Root tuberous, turnip-shaped, or thick-fibrous: st. tall or long, erect, ascending or trailing: lvs. palmately divided or cleft and cut-lobed: fls. large, irregular, showy; sepals 5, the large upper sepal in shape of a hood or helmet; petals 2-5, small; stamens numerous; carpels 3-5, sessile, many-ovuled, forming follicles when ripened. The number of species varies from 18-80, with different botanists. Native in mountain regions of Eu.. Temp. Asia, and 5 in N. Amer. Reichenbach Monographia Generis Aconiti, Leipsic, 1820, 2 vols., folio; Illustratio Specierum Aconiti, Ixnpsic, 1822-7, folio. Many species are planted in European gardens, but only a few have been much used in Amer.

The aconitums yield important drugs, although none of them is grown for this purpose in this country. The officinal aconite is derived from the roots of A. Napellus from England and continental Europe. The leaves are also used for medicinal purposes. A. japonicum yields Japanese aconite; A. chinense. the Chinese aconite; and A. ferox the "bish" or Nepaul aconite. The poisonous alkaloid aconitin is secured from A. Napellus, and similar alkaloids from A. ferox, A. luridum and A. palmatum, of India, A. Fischeri, A. Lycoctonum, A. septentrionale. Not all these species are described here, as fhey are not horticultural subjects.

These plants present a pleasing contrast to the yellow helianthus and rudbeckias, the white of Phlox paniculata, to Chrysanthemum maximum and Anemone japonica. They are also effective for mixing in on shrub borders. The first season, these herbs do not attain their full perfection. Aconitums should be left undisturbed as long as possible. They will survive the northern winters if kept under a leaf-covering, while for the central part of the country, straw or evergreen boughs are sufficient protection.

The following species do well in any garden land, but respond better if given very rich soil. They thrive in open sun, but flowers last longer in shaded places. Aconites should never be planted in or too near the kitchen-garden or the children's garden, as the roots and some of the flowers have a deadly poison. They are suited to the back of the border, as they are tall.

Propagation is effected easily by division of roots in either late fall or early spring; also by seeds sown as soon as mature, in warm spring, in the North, the seeds may be started in small seed-beds in the spring and then be transplanted when the seedlings are about 2 inches high. In the Central States and southward, a year is gained by sowing the seed in late summer or early fall. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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  • Aconitum ajanense
  • Aconitum albo-violaceum
  • Aconitum altaicum
  • Aconitum ambiguum
  • Aconitum angusticassidatum
  • Aconitum anthora (Yellow Monkshood)
  • Aconitum anthoroideum
  • Aconitum apetalum
  • Aconitum axilliflorum
  • Aconitum baburinii
  • Aconitum baicalense
  • Aconitum barbatum
  • Aconitum besserianum
  • Aconitum biflorum
  • Aconitum bucovinense
  • Aconitum burnatii
  • Aconitum carmichaelii' (Carmichael's Monkshood)
  • Aconitum charkeviczii
  • Aconitum chasmanthum
  • Aconitum chinense - Siebold.&Zucc.[3] aka Aconitum carmichaelii var. truppelianum
  • Aconitum cochleare
  • Aconitum columbianum (Western Monkshood)
  • Aconitum confertiflorum
  • Aconitum consanguineum
  • Aconitum coreanum
  • Aconitum crassifolium
  • Aconitum cymbulatum
  • Aconitum decipiens
  • Aconitum degenii (syn. A. variegatum ssp. paniculatum)
  • Aconitum delphinifolium (Larkspurleaf Monkshood)
  • Aconitum desoulavyi
  • Aconitum ferox (Indian Aconite)
  • Aconitum firmum
  • Aconitum fischeri (Fischer Monkshood)
  • Aconitum flerovii
  • Aconitum gigas
  • Aconitum gracile (synonym of A. variegatum ssp. variegatum)
  • Aconitum helenae
  • Aconitum hemsleyanum (Climbing Monkshood)
  • Aconitum hosteanum
  • Aconitum infectum : Arizona Monkshood
  • Aconitum jacquinii (synonym of A. anthora)
  • Aconitum jaluense
  • Aconitum jenisseense
  • Aconitum karafutense
  • Aconitum karakolicum
  • Aconitum kirinense
  • Aconitum krylovii
  • Aconitum kunasilense
  • Aconitum kurilense
  • Aconitum kusnezoffii : Kusnezoff Monkshood
  • Aconitum kuzenevae
  • Aconitum lamarckii
  • Aconitum lasiostomum
  • Aconitum leucostomum
  • Aconitum longiracemosum
  • Aconitum lycoctonum
  • Aconitum macrorhynchum
  • Aconitum maximum (Kamchatka Aconite)
  • Aconitum miyabei
  • Aconitum moldavicum
  • Aconitum montibaicalense
  • Aconitum nanum
  • Aconitum napellus' (Monkshood; type species)
  • Aconitum nasutum
  • Aconitum nemorum
  • Aconitum neosachalinense
  • Aconitum noveboracense (Northern Blue Monkshood)
  • Aconitum ochotense
  • Aconitum orientale
  • Aconitum paniculatum
  • Aconitum paradoxum
  • Aconitum pascoi
  • Aconitum pavlovae
  • Aconitum pilipes
  • Aconitum plicatum
  • Aconitum podolicum
  • Aconitum productum
  • Aconitum pseudokusnezowii
  • Aconitum puchonroenicum
  • Aconitum raddeanum
  • Aconitum ranunculoides
  • Aconitum reclinatum (Trailing White Monkshood)
  • Aconitum rogoviczii
  • Aconitum romanicum
  • Aconitum rotundifolium
  • Aconitum rubicundum
  • Aconitum sachalinense
  • Aconitum sajanense
  • Aconitum saxatile
  • Aconitum sczukinii
  • Aconitum septentrionale
  • Aconitum seravschanicum
  • Aconitum sichotense
  • Aconitum smirnovii
  • Aconitum soongaricum
  • Aconitum stoloniferum
  • Aconitum stubendorffii
  • Aconitum subalpinum
  • Aconitum subglandulosum
  • Aconitum subvillosum
  • Aconitum sukaczevii
  • Aconitum taigicola
  • Aconitum talassicum
  • Aconitum tanguticum
  • Aconitum tauricum
  • Aconitum turczaninowii
  • Aconitum umbrosum
  • Aconitum uncinatum (Southern Blue Monkshood)
  • Aconitum variegatum
  • Aconitum volubile
  • Aconitum vulparia (Wolfsbane)
  • Aconitum woroschilovii

Natural hybrids wp:

  • Aconitum × austriacum
  • Aconitum × cammarum
  • Aconitum × hebegynum
  • Aconitum × oenipontanum (A. variegatum ssp. variegatum × ssp. paniculatum)
  • Aconitum × pilosiusculum
  • Aconitum × platanifolium (A. lycoctonum ssp. neapolitanum × ssp. vulparia)
  • Aconitum × zahlbruckneri (A. napellus ssp. vulgare × A. variegatum ssp. variegatum)


Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
  • A. chinense, Sieb. Deep blue spike of fls. from the axil of every lf.: foliage bold and handf-ome. B.M. 3852. P.M. 5:3.—A. delphini-folium, DC. Allied to A. Napellus.
  • A. gymnandrum, Maxim., is a good species. B.M. 8113.
  • A. Hemaleyanum, E. Pritz. Sts. twining and rambling. China. R.B. 33, p. 328. G. 32:39.
  • A. heterophyllum, Wall. Fls. yellow and violet. Used as a tonic medicine in India. B.M. 6092.
  • A. noveborarense, Gray. Probably:A. paniculatum.
  • A. paniculatum, Lam. (A. toxicum, Reichb.). Has blue fls. L.B.C. 9:810.
  • A. pyramidale, Mill. Form of A. Napellus.
  • A. reclinatum, Gray, of the Alleghanies, with white fls. and large lvs., is worth cult.
  • A. scaposum var. pyramidale. Franch. Lvs. broadly 5-lobed: fls. very numerous, 3/4-1 in. long, heliotrope, greenish yellow at the throat. Cent. China.
  • A. septentrionale var. carpaticum, Sims, is a beautiful purple kind closely related to A. Lycoctonum. B.M. 2196.
  • A. Storkianum, Hort., may be a form of A. variegatum, with the lvs. so much cut up as to give a pinnate form.
  • A. tortuosum, Willd. Once listed in the trade; not now found.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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