Columbian monkshood (Aconitum columbianum)



monkshood leaf

Location: Mount Bisbee (close to Trout Lake) Washington

Information: This plant is sometimes known as western monkshood as well. There is a lot of interesting information regarding this plant – the one of primary importance is that it is lethal. The herb wolfsbane is a general name for a group of plants all related; other names of this general plant family are aconite, monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard’s bane, women’s bane, Devil’s helmet or blue rocket. The plant is actually so toxic that hospitals will administer an antidote to save a persons life. Our version the Columbian Monkshood is less toxic than other species in the family however all versions are poisonous. It is not even recommended that a person pick the flower without use of gloves. The name wolfbane came from the idea that if one was to show this flower to a werewolf – the werewolf would actually return to its natural human form and thus can be rid of properly. The term Wolfsbane probably sounds familiar because it is; Hollywood and writers have used the term for years when attempting to apply witchcraft to a scene. Many examples are on the Wikipedia page on Aconitum plants.

Wiki on Aconitum

Meanwhile, without question it is uniquely designed and created and one can see why it’s captured the attention of so many through our written history.

Identification: One of the most facinating aspect is the small green pods that branch off right below the uniqely designed blossoms. The ones I ran into were dark blue almost to the point of purple and occasionally one will find them pink or white.

USDA Plant Database
E-Flora on Columbian Monkshood


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