Monkshood Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush' (PBR)

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


Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush', commonly known as Monkshood, is an herbaceous perennial that captivates with its unique foliage and stunning floral display. This cultivar is distinguished by its leaves, which boast a striking deep purple or maroon shade when they emerge, later transitioning to a green color with retained purple undertones as they mature. The lush, deeply cut palmate leaves provide a rich backdrop for the plant's true showpiece: its flowers. Monkshood blooms in late summer to early fall with tall, stately spires of hooded flowers. These blossoms are a vibrant blue or purplish-blue shade, resembling the historical hoods worn by monks, hence the name. The flowers are tightly clustered along the upright stems in a visually impactful display that adds vertical interest to the garden. This plant is considered both beautiful and bold, with the blossoms providing an eye-catching contrast against the foliage. As a part of the buttercup family, the individual flowers have a distinct and intricate structure. However, it's important to note that Monkshood is known for its toxic properties, so despite its beauty, care should be taken when planting it in areas accessed by children and pets.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Azure Monkshood, Carmichael's Monkshood, Chinese Aconite.

    • Common names

      Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush' (PBR).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush', commonly known as Monkshood, is highly toxic to humans. All parts of the plant, including the roots, leaves, and flowers, contain poisonous alkaloids such as aconitine. Ingestion of any part of the plant can lead to severe symptoms. Symptoms of Monkshood poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a sensation of burning or numbness in the mouth and face, and progressive paralysis of the heart and respiratory system, which can be fatal. Even handling the plant without proper protection can lead to the absorption of toxins through the skin, causing similar symptoms. Immediate medical attention is required in the event of ingestion or other exposure to the toxins.

    • To pets

      Monkshood is also highly toxic to pets. If a pet ingests any part of the Monkshood plant, they may experience severe symptoms, which can be similar to those in humans. These symptoms include gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as nervous system signs like muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, and potentially life-threatening heart abnormalities. Contact with the skin can also result in mild to severe dermatitis. Due to the potency of the plant's toxins, ingestion can be rapidly fatal without prompt veterinary intervention. Pet owners should ensure Monkshood is not accessible to their animals.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetically Pleasing: Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush', also known as Monkshood, has striking purple-blue flowers that add a splash of color to garden spaces.
    • Seasonal Interest: This perennial offers late summer to fall blooming, providing color when many other plants have finished flowering.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of Monkshood attract bees and butterflies, beneficial for pollinating other plants in the garden.
    • Deer and Rabbit Resistant: Monkshood is known for being less palatable to deer and rabbits, reducing the risk of damage from wildlife.
    • Vertical Accent: With its tall spires of flowers, Monkshood can add height and vertical interest to flower beds and borders.
    • Shade Tolerant: This plant can thrive in partial shade, offering a flowering option for garden spots that receive less sunlight.
    • Cold Hardy: Monkshood is well-suited to cooler climates and can withstand frost, making it a robust choice for northern gardens.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • This plant is not used for medical purposes

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Aconitum, commonly known as Monkshood, can be used as a natural fabric dye, producing colors from deep green to blue shades depending on the mordant used.
    • Because of its dramatic hooded flowers and height, Monkshood can be planted for aesthetic purposes in theater set designs and thematic gardens.
    • The plant’s seeds are sometimes used in traditional handicrafts, jewelry, or as a curio, although handling should be done with care due to its toxic nature.
    • Monkshood can be utilized in photography and art projects for its unique structure and vibrant flowers that inspire creative compositions.
    • Some cultures use Monkshood in folklore practices and rituals, attributing magical properties to the plant, often related to protection.
    • In larger landscapes and parks, Monkshood can serve as a marker plant due to its distinct appearance, helping in orientation or in educational plant walks.
    • When dried and preserved, Monkshood flowers can be used in decorative wreaths and arrangements for special occasions or as home décor.
    • The plant can be used in botany education, serving as an example of plant adaptation and biodiversity, particularly in temperate forest ecosystems.
    • Monkshood has been mentioned in literature and poetry, symbolizing caution and danger due to its poisonous attributes, often enriching the narrative with its symbolism.
    • Monkshood serves as a natural pest repellent in gardens, deterring many common herbivores due to its toxicity; careful placement should ensure it doesn't affect beneficial wildlife.

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 and Danger: Also known as Monkshood, Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush' is known for its high toxicity if ingested. Because of its poisonous nature, it symbolizes caution and the need for one to be wary.
    • Misfortune: In line with its toxic attributes, Monkshood has been associated with bad luck and misfortune, potentially because encountering it or handling it without proper knowledge could lead to unfortunate consequences.
    • Chivalry: Despite its dangerous properties, the impressive and regal appearance of Monkshood's flowers can symbolize knightly valor and chivalry. This may possibly stem from its association with medieval warriors who might have used the plant's toxins for their weapons.
    • Protection: Monkshood has historically been used in folklore and rituals to ward off evil spirits or creatures, symbolizing protection against external threats.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Monkshood 'Royal Flush' should be watered deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. During hot, dry spells, increase watering frequency to maintain even soil moisture. Aim for about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, depending on the weather conditions. It's best to water early in the morning to reduce evaporation and to help prevent diseases that might stem from the foliage being wet overnight. Gradually reduce watering as the plant goes dormant in late fall to encourage hardiness.

  • sunLight

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' thrives best in partial shade, especially in areas with hot summers. The ideal spot for this plant would include morning sunlight with afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight throughout the day. Avoid placing it in full sun, which can scorch the foliage, particularly during the peak afternoon hours.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' prefers cool to moderate temperature conditions and is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 7. The plant can survive minimum temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate summer temperatures up to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the ideal growing temperature for this perennial is between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' benefits from pruning to promote bushier growth and remove spent flower stalks to encourage possible additional blooming. It should be pruned after flowering, typically in late summer or early fall, cutting the old flower spikes down to the base of the plant. Additionally, any damaged or dead foliage can be removed in the spring to tidy up the plant and allow for new growth.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' thrives in moist, fertile, well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 6.1 to 7.8. A mix of loamy soil with organic matter such as compost or peat moss will support its growth. Ensure the soil has good aeration to prevent waterlogging.

  • plantRepotting

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' is typically not repotted often, as it is a perennial plant. Repotting can be done every 2-3 years if grown in containers, or as needed when the plant outgrows its current space or the soil needs refreshing.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Monkshood 'Royal Flush' prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable to different humidity conditions. It does not require high humidity; ambient outdoor humidity is usually sufficient for its growth.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Monkshood 'Royal Flush' in bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Monkshood 'Royal Flush' in part shade to full sun and moist, fertile soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush', also known as Azure Monkshood, begins its life cycle as a seed, which germinates in late winter to early spring, depending on the temperature and moisture levels of the soil. The seedling soon develops into a vegetative plant with distinctive purplish-green, marbled leaves, characteristic of the 'Royal Flush' variety. Throughout the spring and summer, the plant undergoes vegetative growth, forming a clump of leafy stems and preparing for flowering. In late summer to early fall, it produces tall spikes of showy hooded flowers, usually in shades of deep blue or violet. After pollination, which is often aided by bees and other insects, the plant sets seeds, which mature as the foliage begins to die back with the onset of cooler temperatures. Finally, the plant enters a period of dormancy during the winter, when the above-ground parts die back, and the plant survives as a tuberous rootstock, ready to regrow the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer

    • Aconitum carmichaelii 'Royal Flush', commonly known as Monkshood, can be propagated most effectively through division. The best time to propagate by division is in the early spring as the plant emerges from dormancy. Gently dig up the clump of Monkshood, ensuring a generous amount of root and crown is attached to each section. Each division should have at least two or three buds. Carefully separate the roots to create new plants, making sure not to damage the delicate buds. Once divided, replant the sections at the same depth they were growing at originally, spacing them about 18 inches (approximately 45 centimeters) apart to allow enough room for growth. Water the new divisions well to help establish them in their new locations.