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Monday, August 24, 2009

Monkshood (for Mary)


Today I am participating in Blue Monday...and sending out information on a plant from my garden. Thanks to Sally....over at Smiling Sally for hosting this meme...click her logo to visit more Blue Monday posts.


Monkshood...also known commonly as wolfsbane, leopard's bane, women's bane, Devil's helmet or blue rocket. I prefer to just go with the monkshood! lol
This plant is often used as an alternative to Delphinium and the beautiful blooms resemble the hoods that monks wear...hence the common name! The proper name is Aconitum.
There are over 250 different species of this plant, but I have only seen this one. It will grow in full sun to partial shade...but if given too much shade the flowers get weak and tend to flop. About 6 hours of sunlight is about the right amount for this plant.
Here in Alberta, Monkshood is a perennial. If a plant can survive this climate...lol...it can more than likely survive anywhere!!!
I have read that if you wait for the first blooms to fade, and cut the plant back before it sets seed, it will bloom again. Now in this garden...I don't tend to do this...as our growing season is so short, but if your season is longer this is a great way to have a longer blooming period. I allow mine to set seed. I have never tried to start them from seed, instead I divide my plant. I just used a garden fork and cut it in half...and then in half again, potted up the ones I removed...and gave them away to another gardener!
I feel that I should mention...that Monkshood is considered a highly toxic poisonous plant. Do not eat any part of the plant or the seeds. Mine is in the front yard...as I have a dog that loves to "smell and snack"on many of my plants! We almost lost her two years ago to Heliotrope and Lantana snacking!
The side effects of eating this plant will include: burning of the mouth and throat, confusion, dizziness, headaches and vomiting. In severe poisoning, breathing difficulty, then paralysis, are followed by convulsions and Death from asphyxiation and circulatory failure. However, most victims do recover within 24 hours.
(poison information found in the poisonous plants directory online)
Well that's all I have for you for today. Will you be adding Monkshood to your garden?