Monkshood Aconitum napellus subsp. napellus Anglicum Group

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
monk's hood Anglicum Group


The plant commonly referred to as Monkshood, named after its distinctive flower shape resembling a monk's cowl, displays a striking appearance. It proudly bears helmet-shaped flowers, mostly in a vibrant shade of blue, which are neatly arranged in a showy spike-like cluster towards the top of the stem. The foliage is a deep green, with leaves that are palmately divided into lobes, giving them a hand-like appearance with fingers spread out. The leaves at the base of the Monkshood are typically rounded, creating a lush, attractive ground cover when not in bloom. As the flowers bloom, they create a dramatic and eye-catching display, often being a favorite among gardeners looking to add a touch of medieval charm to their garden. The overall impression of the Monkshood is one of striking beauty and elegance, with its vivid flowers set against dark green foliage.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Blue Rocket, Queen of Poisons, Aconite, Friar's Cap, Helmet Flower, Soldier's Cap, Turk's Cap

    • Common names

      Aconitum anglicum, Aconitum stoerkianum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Aconitum napellus, commonly known as monkshood, is highly toxic to humans. All parts of the plant contain potent alkaloids, particularly aconitine. Ingesting even a small amount of monkshood can lead to severe cardiovascular and neuromuscular effects. Symptoms of poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, a burning sensation in the mouth, numbness, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, hypotension, and severe arrhythmias. Severe cases can result in paralysis of the heart or respiratory system and can be fatal.

    • To pets

      Monkshood is also highly toxic to pets. It contains aconitine and related alkaloids, which are poisonous if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning in pets may include salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, heart arrhythmia, convulsions, and potentially collapse. Ingestion of monkshood can be quickly fatal to pets due to its effects on the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems, and immediate veterinary attention is required if ingestion is suspected.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4 feet (1.2 meters)

    • Spread

      2 feet (0.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Aconitum napellus, commonly known as Monkshood, provides a visually appealing aesthetic with its distinctive hooded blue or purple flowers, making it a popular choice for adding drama and height to garden borders and flower arrangements.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Monkshood flowers can attract bees and butterflies, promoting pollination in the garden and supporting biodiversity.
    • Shade Tolerance: This plant can grow well in partially shaded areas, providing a flowering option for garden spots that receive less sunlight.
    • Seasonal Interest: With a late summer to early fall blooming period, Monkshood offers color and interest in the garden at a time when many other plants are beginning to decline.
    • Toxicity as a Pest Deterrent: Due to its toxic properties, Monkshood is rarely bothered by deer and other herbivores. This characteristic helps protect it and nearby plants from grazing damage.
    • Historical and Cultural Significance: Monkshood has a rich history in folklore and mythology, which can add an element of intrigue and storytelling to one's garden or landscape design.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Analgesic: Historically used for its pain-relieving properties.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Might have been used to reduce inflammation.
    • Anodyne: Used in the past to soothe and relieve pain internally and externally.
    • Febrifuge: Employed as a treatment to reduce fever.
    • Diaphoretic: Used to induce perspiration, possibly as a method to break fevers.
    • Cardiotonic: Traditionally used to exert an effect on heart function.
    Please note that the use of Aconitum species, including Aconitum napellus (commonly known as Monkshood), is highly controversial due to its toxicity. Its use as a medicinal herb has historically posed serious risk of poisoning, and it should not be used without medical supervision.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Aconitum, commonly known as monkshood, has been historically used as a poison for hunting and warfare due to its toxic properties.
    • In some traditions, monkshood was used in creating ointments or potions believed to imbue the user with the ability to transform into a werewolf.
    • The roots of monkshood were sometimes used as an insecticide, specifically against ants and other pests, due to its toxic alkaloids.
    • In folklore, it was said that planting monkshood could protect against malignant supernatural entities, as it was believed to have magical protective properties.
    • Monkshood has been used as a coloring agent, where its blue-purple flowers provide natural dyes for fabrics.
    • The plant was sometimes included in gardens to repel herbivorous animals like deer, which avoid the toxic plant.
    • Historically, monkshood was used in potions as a love charm, though this was obviously fraught with danger due to its toxic nature.
    • In some regions, monkshood flowers were used to create ceremonial garlands for rituals and traditional festivals.
    • Because of its dramatic appearance, monkshood has been used as a model in art and literature, symbolizing deceit and danger.
    • Monkshood plants were occasionally used in landscape architecture and garden design to create visually striking backdrops or features due to their tall spires of blue flowers.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Monkshood is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Monkshood is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Caution: Aconitum napellus, commonly known as Monkshood, has historically been associated with caution due to its toxic properties, indicating the need to handle certain matters or relationships with care to avoid harm.
    • Protection: In some traditions, Monkshood has been used in protection charms owing to its potency, offering symbolic defense against negative forces and threats.
    • Misfortune: Due to its toxicity, Monkshood is sometimes seen as a symbol of bad luck or ill omens, suggesting the presence of danger or the potential for unfortunate events.
    • Deceit: The attractive appearance of Monkshood belies its dangerous nature, making it a symbol for deception and things that are not as they appear.
    • Power: The plant's strong toxic compounds have historically endowed it with a representation of power and the ability to control or overcome.
    • Chivalry: In certain cultures, Monkshood is associated with knightly virtue and the courage to face formidable challenges, akin to a knight in battle.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Monkshood prefers consistent moisture and should be watered thoroughly once a week or more frequently during hot, dry periods. It is best to water the plant in the morning to allow excess moisture to evaporate before nightfall. Apply water directly to the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and help prevent disease. Provide about 1 gallon of water per plant for each watering session, ensuring the soil is moistened to a depth of at least 6 inches.

  • sunLight

    Monkshood thrives in partial shade to full shade conditions. It is best positioned in a spot where it receives dappled sunlight or light shade throughout the day, as intense direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. Avoid placing Monkshood in a location that gets afternoon sun, which is typically the hottest part of the day.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Monkshood performs well in a wide range of temperatures, but the optimal growing conditions are between 50°F and 65°F. It can withstand minimum temperatures down to 0°F, making it suitable for many temperate climates. The plant prefers cooler conditions and may not thrive in regions where temperatures consistently exceed 75°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Monkshood is generally done to remove spent flower stalks and promote a tidy appearance. Deadheading, or cutting back the flower spikes after blooming, encourages potential additional blooms. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering, typically in late summer or early fall. Additionally, any damaged or diseased foliage should be removed as soon as it is noticed to maintain plant health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Monkshood thrives in a soil mix comprising equal parts of loam, peat, and sand, ensuring well-draining properties. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.1 to 7.5 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Monkshood, being a perennial, does not require frequent repotting. It is typically repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current container to ensure continued health and room for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Monkshood prefers moderate humidity levels and does not require excessively high humidity to thrive. Maintaining average room humidity will suffice for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and cool temperatures for Monkshood.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade with moist, well-drained soil for Monkshood.

    • Hardiness zone

      Monkshood is suitable for USDA zones 3-7.

  • circleLife cycle

    The common name for Aconitum napellus subsp. napellus Anglicum Group is Monkshood. The life of this plant begins as a seed, which, when sown in fertile, well-draining soil and given the right conditions, germinates. The seedling emerges and develops true leaves, growing into a juvenile plant before entering into a vegetative phase characterized by the growth of lush, deeply divided, dark green leaves. Following its vegetative stage, Monkshood enters the flowering phase in late summer to early fall, producing tall spires of hood-shaped blue or violet flowers favored by pollinators such as bees. After pollination, it produces follicles containing seeds, which, when mature, are dispersed by wind or water, or fall close to the parent plant to begin the next generation. Lastly, the plant enters a period of dormancy in winter, surviving as a perennial root system that will regrow when conditions become favorable in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Aconitum napellus, commonly known as Monkshood, is by division, which is typically done in the spring or early fall. To propagate by division, carefully dig up an established plant, ensuring to get as much of the root system as possible. Gently separate the plant into smaller sections, making sure that each section has at least one shoot and a portion of the root system. Replant these divisions immediately at the same depth they were growing at before, spacing them about 18 inches (approximately 45 centimeters) apart to allow ample room for growth. Water the new plantings thoroughly to help establish them in their new locations. Divisions should be monitored for moisture and given time to acclimate to their new environment for the best results.