The WALA Plant Library

Synonyms for Monkshood: Aconite, Blue Rocket, Friar's Cap, Auld Wife's Huid, Helmet-flower, Mousebane, Wolfbane, Wolf's Bane, Wolfsbane
Scientific Name: Aconitum napellus L.
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae (Crowfoot family)


So beautiful and yet so poisonous! Anyone with children will ban this most impressive member of the crowfoot family from the garden and grieve after it. The deep blue, helmet-shaped flowers are arranged in long terminal spikes on stems about 4 feet high, their radiance visible from afar from June to September. The names Friar's Cap, Monkshood and Helmet-flower derive from the bizarre shape of these large flowers which only reach their impressive size through the helmet-shaped hood formed by the transformed sepals. Concealed beneath this hood are the actual petals which are quite small and unobtrusive. Only the large bumble bees are able to find their way into these spacious flowers from below. Nectar thieves simply bite into them from the outside. The large, filigree, divided leaves are no less beautiful. The root is turnip-like and forms a new tuber in the course of the year while the one from the previous year dies off in the winter.