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Beginner Gardening Questions: Monkshood: Yay or Nay?

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 3, Views: 36
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Conshohocken, PA

June 27, 2012
6:23 PM

Post #9183985

I just bought a beautiful Monkshood plant for my cottage perennial garden. The cashier said "Don't eat it! It's poisonous!" and I said I won't. I have foxglove and I know as long as I don't eat them I'll be fine.

But after I got home, I looked Monkshood up online and am now completely scared of it.

I won't eat it--I don't eat anything from my garden. Also, I have no--and will have no pets--or kids to worry me about it. So, I know not to eat it, but I read that you can get absorb the poison just by HANDLING the plant? What are we talking here? Like, I forget it's poisonous so I go trimming it down without gloves, and then I get sick or die? Or, after touching it with my garden gloves, are those gloves now forever deadly? I have a fairly crowded garden, so I may accidentally touch it when pinching or deadheading neighboring plants without gloves.

Will it kill the groundhogs (which I dont' want to happen)?

So, should I return it, or am I over-reacting?

What are your experiences with the beeeeautiful plant?


Rolesville, NC
(Zone 7b)

July 6, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9195521

Dr. Allen Armitage who wrote the plant bible for the South, "Herbaceous Perennial Plants", gives the history of the plant's toxic properties but only a brief warning not to ingest it.
If a plant were that toxic and dangerous surely the government would have banned it by now. Although on second thought, the highly poisonous Ricinus communis (which is where the toxin ricin comes from) is still legal... but marijuana isn't, hmmm.

I say, plant it. My mom has had one for five years now and it hasn't taken her down yet :)
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

July 6, 2012
5:45 PM

Post #9195824

So, if you're not planning on eating it, don't worry about it!!

It is really only abject ignorance of the nature of plants that gets people all excited about poisonous plants in the garden. And, by that, I mean, that if they were knowledgeable, they would realize that a vastly greater number of plants are poisonous than they realize, including many that they are blithely growing in ignorance and without incidence.

One can only roll one's eyes...
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

July 6, 2012
5:53 PM

Post #9195832

Lol... I love both foxgloves and Monkshood. I usually have gloves on when I'm doing serious work in the garden, but the only time I worry about what gets on them is when I know I've been near poison ivy. Then I protect myself with a plastic bag over my hands when I pull it out, and it goes in the garbage. Otherwise, no worry, no problem. Enjoy the beautiful blooms is my advice!


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