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MONK'S HOOD : Aconitum napellus 


Also known as wolfsbane and common aconite

The Native Flower website warns us that : All parts of the Monkshood plant are extremely poisonous, containing potent nerve, heart and respiratory toxins. Note that these toxins can be absorbed by simply handling the plant.

It can sometimes be found around West Dunbartonshire. Being quite an attractive plant, there may be the temptation to pick it by hand. Avoid this and warn children. 

Monkshood is a native perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in damp areas and waste ground, to a mature height of up to 150cm. 

Its name comes from the cowl-like shape of its large purple flowers. The presence of established Monkshood is said to an indicator of ancient woodland, but sometimes it has reseeded elsewhere. It is a member of the Buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. The genus name 'Aconitum' identifies the plant as a Aconite and its species name 'napellus' means 'turnip-rooted plant'.

Despite its toxicity to most animals, Monkshood is a food plant for the caterpillars of several moth species. [Native Flowers].

Wiki tells us that it is sometimes grown for its attractive flowers which are used both fresh and dried, but it too goes on to note its toxic properties. Like other species in the genus, A. napellus contains several poisonous compounds, including enough cardiac poison that it was used on spears and arrows for hunting and battle in ancient times [Wiki].

This plant was seen in late September on the upper Leven towpath. Note the divided leaves.

NATIVE FLOWERS : https://www.nativeflower.co.uk/details.php?plant_url=195

WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconitum_napellus#:~:text=Aconitum%20napellus%2C%20monkshood%2C%20aconite%2C%20Venus%27%20chariot%20or%20wolfsbane%2C,3%20in%29%20tall%2C%20with%20hairless%20stems%20and%20leaves.

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