A Poisonous Blue Beauty
I have a beautiful purplish-blue flower blooming in my front yard now, but it is not for everyone. Commonly called monk’s hood (Aconitum spp.), it is also called wolfbane because peasants in Russia allegedly used the juice from this plant to poison meat to kill wolves. It is not recommended for use near vegetable gardens or in households with small children.
Monkshood has poisonous sap but is a handsome garden plant.
Monkshood is commonly confused with delphinium, another tall blue garden flower. There are summer-blooming and fall-blooming varieties, and I have both – and no wolves around. It is probably best not to use this plant in flower arrangements, though I really have no way of knowing how poisonous this plant is, and know it does hold up nicely in a vase.
The flowers look a bit like helmets to some.
Monkshood does best in part shade. My fall-blooming plants get full afternoon sun, and no morning sun. I grow the summer-blooming plants in morning sun only. Neither variety wants baking sun or dry soil. It is not prone to flopping, which is nice. It gets to be 3 to 4 feet tall.
Having flowers blooming in mid-October is nice. Most garden centers are putting perennials on sale before winter comes, so might go look for some and get a good deal. And if the wolves come? You know how to get rid of them.
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