Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Monkshood, Wolfbane
Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii'

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aconitum (a-kon-EYE-tum) (Info)
Species: carmichaelii (kar-my-KAY-lee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Arendsii

Synonym:Aconitum x cammarum

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

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:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On May 22, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A very valuable plant for extending the season, with a good long display of intensely blue-violet flowers beginning here in late September. No deadheading necessary. One of the best plants for fall bloom in shade, with Japanese anemonies and Actaea matsumurae (Synonym Cimicifuga simplex). The leaves are handsome, deeply cut and a glossy dark green.

The stems grow stronger and taller and more floriferous the second year. Mine reached 6' in dappled shade. Stems are rigid and vertical, but in shade they needed light support (no staking, just a string across if stems begin to lean).

The roots are radish-like, and don't have a lot of fibrous rootlets. This plant resents transplanting, which is best done in very early spring before there's much top growth---plants emerge from dormancy in earliest spring. I would not space these closer than 12-18".

This plant is less drought tolerant and requires more consistent moisture than most garden perennials, and I find partial shade (or at least protection from hot afternoon sun) helps keep it from drying out in the heat of summer. I suspect this is more important in the southeastern USA (I'm in Boston Z6a). It doesn't prosper where summer nights often remain above 70F. It doesn't seem to mind heavy silty soil, which helps with moisture retention.

In some years it seems to get a disease that blackens the leaves---this seems to follow drought stress, and it doesn't necessarily come back the next year.

The juice is highly poisonous---meat laced with it was once used to poison wolves, hence the name "wolfbane"---and the neurotoxins in the juice are easily absorbed through the skin. Use gloves when handling plants! Initial symptoms include numbness and tingling.

Aconitum x cammarum is a hybrid between A. napellus and A. variegatum. It blooms in summer, and commonly has bicolored flowers. It is not a synonym for A. carmichaelii.

Positive Mencken On Apr 27, 2013, Mencken from Flanders, NJ wrote:

I have a blue & purple "themed" flower garden, and saw monkshood at my local nursery in 2011- the fabulous intense blue/violet flowers had a definite WOW factor. Received conflicting info as to where to plant, so at first located it in an area where it got the morning sun-got very leggy with not much of a flower stalk the first year. Relocated to a full sun spot in Spring of 2012, and what a difference; plants did get quite tall, over 7 ft, but the top 2 ft were nothing but flowers, and bloomed from mid-Sept to mid-Oct. The plant did tolerate the transplant very well. Did it in early Spring when new shoots were about 6"-just made sure it was well watered for the first week

Neutral Bazuhi On Jul 21, 2012, Bazuhi from Downers Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I had gotten these plants in 2008 from someone on Craigslist thinking I was getting Delphinium plants. Of course when they bloomed in fall I figured out it was the wrong plant.
This plant has done very well where it was planted getting nice green leaves and sending up shoots of flowers in the fall over 6ft tall. The flowers are kinda pretty as long as the stalks stay up and they were displayed in groups otherwise kinda eh. With this plant I do recommend staking the flower stalks. The flower bed this plant was growing in really needed to be cleaned up due to the over growth of the Bee Balm, the garden Phlox that have gone wild (and no longer were or represented the original plant) and other issues in this bed. I with careful consideration decided to remove these plants from the flower bed with no relocation being done, they ended up in a trash heap. Several deciding factors played a role in this:
1)The whole plant is extremely toxic to pets and I had obtained 2 small breed puppies and did not want to take any chances since the plant was growing out of its designated fenced in area.
2)The plant just got way to tall for where it was located with the foliage getting3-4 feet and the flower spikes getting to 6ft
3)I wasnt all the impressed with the flowers to make it worth my while
4)The flower stalks needed staking and I am to lazy to do all that for a plant I am not that impressed with.

So I have officially removed this plant this year(2012) and am no longer growing it.

Positive SunnyBorders On Jun 22, 2009, SunnyBorders from Aurora, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

Beautiful blue fall monkshood. Leathery shiny dark green leaves. Thick stems, typically three to four foot in height, usually don't need staking. Long lived. Very poisonous.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 6, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Arendsii produces amethyst-blue hooded flowers which are great for cut flowers. Stately upright clump has glossy deeply-cut leaves. POISONOUS!


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

Downers Grove, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Carmel, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Woolwich, Maine
Baldwin, Maryland
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Lexington, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Stephenson, Michigan
Brewster, Minnesota
Ely, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Bozeman, Montana
Flanders, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Rochester, New York
Sidney, Ohio
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Ogden, Utah
Lexington, Virginia
Sandston, Virginia
Bellingham, Washington
De Pere, Wisconsin

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