The monkshood is an attractive appearance in the flowerbed. But be careful: Monkshood species are among the most poisonous plants in our latitudes. Find out more information here!
Botanical name: Aconite
Plant family: Buttercup family (bot. Ranunculaceae)
Occurrence: Siberia, Europe, Asia, America
Its botanical name Aconitum napellus comes from the name of a mountain in Asia Minor, the Akonitos. According to the Greek legend, Hercules brought the hellhound Cerberus there from the underworld, Hades. Monkshood finally grew out of the saliva of this three-headed hellhound.
Due to its flower shape, it is also known as a balaclava and thrives and grows in higher mountain areas, tall herbaceous meadows and moist pastures, mainly in Central and Western Europe. There it is bristling with storm, sun and frost. The following three species are particularly common in Central Europe:
- the blue and colored monkshood
- the yellow blooming wolf monkshood
These different species bloom in summer. In autumn you can enjoy the dark blue-violet of the monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii “Arendsil”). With its late blooming season in September / October, this brings up the rear. The flower has a beet-shaped root from which it sprouts its main flower stem with beautiful blue to blue-violet flowers that sit on top of grapes. Its flower head is reminiscent of an iron helmet that knights and mercenaries wore in the 15th and 16th centuries – that’s how it got its name.
Care tips for Eisenhut
Its impressively beautiful shape also allowed it to move into gardens as a cut flower. The beauty of the monkshood should be taken with caution, however, because it is highly toxic. It is therefore advisable to wear gloves when planting, because even touching them can lead to skin irritation and numbness.
Under no circumstances should it be consumed and should not be near children or animals.
In contrast, it has been used as a remedy in medicine and homeopathy since ancient times. It is said to have a calming effect on panic and agitation.
In the wild it is forbidden to pick the blue monkshood as it is under nature protection. But to still enjoy it, you can admire it in your garden or in a vase.