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PlantFiles: Aconite, Monkshood, Monk's Coule, Helmet Flower, Cat's Tail
Aconitum napellus 'Anglicum Group'

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aconitum (a-kon-EYE-tum) (Info)
Species: napellus (nap-ELL-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Anglicum Group

Synonym:Aconitum anglicum
Synonym:Aconitum napellus subsp. napellus

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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to view:

By Baa
Thumbnail #1 of Aconitum napellus by Baa

By ideboda
Thumbnail #2 of Aconitum napellus by ideboda

By ideboda
Thumbnail #3 of Aconitum napellus by ideboda

By altagardener
Thumbnail #4 of Aconitum napellus by altagardener


2 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Veshengo On Jul 13, 2006, Veshengo from Faversham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have seen it growing in the wild in South Wales (UK) and it was a marvelous sight, drifts of violet and blue amongst the grasses and other flowers, but due to local laws about collecting seeds and plants from the wild I was unable to collect any samples.

This species come under either of the following: Aconitum Anglicum (English Monkshood although it can also be found in Western Europe) or Aconitum Napellus 'Anglicum Group'. The addition of the 'subsp. napellus' part might have appeared as a typing error.

Great care should be taken when handling any part of this species. Gloves are advisable and any cut or graze should be covered.
A lot of poisoning cases have been due to people mistaking the roots for horseradish.

Positive jenireed On Jul 10, 2006, jenireed from Appleton, WI wrote:

I love this plant! It is a nice, tall plant that blooms in shade in the late fall when most plants are done blooming.

Neutral MAmmons On Jul 12, 2005, MAmmons from Dayton, OH wrote:

I have monkshood in my tall cottage gardenbed. It grows to about five foot before it flowers , it looks nice with white David phlox and black eyed susan. However, I will remove it as its poisonous aspects represent some potential of harm to children . There are so many other plants of equal beauty that we do not need risk.

Neutral nagesh On Aug 15, 2003, nagesh wrote:

I wish to add following information about the plant:
Aconite is a deadly poisonous plant acting on the heart. The plant roots are highly toxic. Orally it has sweet tatse and is often used for homicidal or suicidal poisoning purposes by mixing with food materials, drinks etc. Hence be careful!!
- Prof Dr. Nageshkumar G Rao

Negative ideboda On Mar 9, 2003, ideboda from T-village ;) - Friesland
Netherlands (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is one of the most poisonous plants in the world.
When in flower, it is quite characteristic, but with foliage only it may be dangerously confused with an edible herb:

I once read a story about someone who had mistaken the foliage for celery, and added a few leaves to a panful of soup. It resulted in the death of 3 or 4 members of her family, including herself.

Neutral Baa On Mar 8, 2003, Baa wrote:

A herbaceous perennial from Western Britain and is the only British representative of the genus.

Some don't consider it a true native to Great Britain and think it may have been brought here over 1000 years ago. There is some discussion about whether this is a napellus sub species, napellus is a very variable species and many still list A. napellus subsp. napellus as Aconitum anglicum. Whatever the real history is, it's rare in the wild and can only be found in a few western regions of England and South Wales.

Has pale to mid green, rounded leaves that are finely divided into narrow segments. Bears violet - blue hooded flowers that bees love.

Flowers late April - July

Loves a moist but well-drained, fetile soil in light shade. Will tolerate dryish shade but won't flower as well.

This plant is highly poisonous and can irritate sensitive skins if handled. Grow where children and animals can't take a nibble.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Dillon, Montana
Dayton, Ohio
Puyallup, Washington
Appleton, Wisconsin

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