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Aconite, Monkshood, Monk's Coule, Helmet Flower, Cat's Tail 'Anglicum Group'

Aconitum napellus

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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 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


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

Dillon, Montana

Dayton, Ohio

Puyallup, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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. W... read more