Aconitum napellus

23 May

Aconitum napellus (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Aconitum napellus (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Partial shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Ranunculaceae

 Aconitum napellus is a deciduous, herbaceous perennial with an erect, clump forming habit. Its glossy dark green leaves are rounded, palmate, deeply lobed with up to 7 segments and up to 7cm across. Its dark purple/ blue flowers appear in the shape of hoods and are up to 2cm tall. Its roots are tubers which aids is spread.

The species  Aconitum napellus, commonly known as Wolfsbane, Monkshood, Aconite, is native to west and central Europe. In its native habitat it grows in damp shady places including woodland edges and species rich meadows. All parts of this plant are extremely toxic.

The etymological root of the binomial name Aconitum is from the ancient Greek name for this plant and is loosely translated as ‘unconquerable poison’. Napellus is derived from the Latin napus meaning ‘turnip’, referring to the shape of the root.

Aconitum napellus Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Aconitum napellus Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Aconitum napellus useful as part of a woodland planting scheme. It is also suitable for use as part of a mixed herbaceous planting scheme. Care should be taken when locating this plant due to its poisonous nature, including via skin.

Ecologically,  Aconitum napellus flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

 Aconitum napellus prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate dry soils.

 Aconitum napellus requires little maintenance. To keep a tidy appearance old flowering stems may be removed in spring. Large clumps may be divided in late autumn.

Davis Landscape Architecture

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Aconitum napellus”

  1. Sang Logan 24/05/2013 at 23:41 #

    Terminal racemes of mid-blue flowers Aug-Oct, 1-2m. Easy. Seed collected at high altitude in N. Vietnam where this plant was grown for it medicinal properties (although all aconitum are considered very poison in Europe).

  2. Carla Duran 27/05/2013 at 07:26 #

    The species Aconitum napellus, commonly known as Wolfsbane, Monkshood, Aconite, is native to west and central Europe. In its native habitat it grows in damp shady places including woodland edges and species rich meadows. All parts of this plant are extremely toxic.

  3. Jenny Knox 31/05/2013 at 19:21 #

    Roots of aconitum were used to poison wolves. The root has been mistaken for a Horseradish root; do not plant near edibles. Wash your hands after planting or working with aconitum; the entire plant is poisonous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: