Aconitum napellus

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 Aconitum napellus subsp. var.  Friar's cap, Helmet flower, Monkshood
Aconitum napellus 230705.jpg
Habit: bulbous
Height: to
Width: to
5ft6ft 24in32in
Height: 5 ft to 6 ft
Width: 24 in to 32 in
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: early summer, mid summer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
Exposure: sun, part-sun
Features: flowers
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 5 to 9
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: blue, purple
Ranunculaceae > Aconitum napellus var. ,

Aconitum napellus (Monkshood, "aconite", "Wolf's Bane", Fuzi, "Monk's Blood", or "Monk's Hood") is a species of Aconitum in the family Ranunculaceae, native and endemic to western and central Europe.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1 m tall, with hairless stems and leaves. The leaves are rounded, 5–10 cm diameter, palmately divided into five to seven deeply lobed segments. The flowers are dark purple to bluish-purple, narrow oblong helmet-shaped, 1–2 cm tall.

Plants are grown in gardens in temperate zones for their spike-like inflorescences that are showy in early-mid summer and their attractive foliage. There are white and rose colored forms in cultivation too.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Aconitum napellus, Linn. (A. tauricum, Jacq. A. pyramidale, Mill. A. inunctum, Koch). True Monkshood. Officinal Aconite. Fig. 111. The best known and most poisonous species, and used in medicine. Sts. erect, 3-4 ft.: lvs. divided to the base, and cleft 2-3 times into linear lobes: fls. blue, in a raceme; peduncles erect, pubescent; helmet broad and low, gaping, smoothish: fr. 3-4-celled. June, July.— Very many varieties, differing in shade of fls.. often mottled or lined with white. Var. album is nearly white. Var. bicolor and yar. versicolor, much used in gardens for the large blue and white fls. Reichenbach has divided this species into 20-30 species. A. Halleri is one of his divisions appearing in catalogues.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 It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article.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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Nine subspecies are accepted by the Flora Europaea:

  • Aconitum napellus subsp. napellus. Southwest England.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. corsicum (Gáyer) W.Seitz. Corsica.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. firmum (Rchb.) Gáyer. Central and eastern Europe.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. fissurae (Nyár.) W.Seitz. Balkans to southwest Russia.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. hians (Rchb.) Gáyer. Central Europe.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. lusitanicum Rouy. Southwest Europe.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. superbum (Fritsch) W.Seitz. Western Balkans.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. tauricum (Wulfen) Gáyer. Eastern Alps, southern Carpathians.
  • Aconitum napellus subsp. vulgare (DC.) Rouy & Foucaud. Alps, Pyrenees, northern Spain.

Plants native to Asia and North America formerly listed as A. napellus are now regarded as separate species.


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