Aconite [æ′kənait]

Aconitum, common name monkshood and wolfsbane is a group of attractive yet highly poison plants in the crowfoot family. They are native to the northern hemisphere with numerous species distributed throughout the United States and Canada.

Poison resides in the roots and occasionally the flowers. The chemical produced from Aconitum napellus, the European monkshood is a powerful analgesic and diaphoretic drug, used under controlled conditions because it is fatal in large dose. Many species of aconite are cultivated for perennials by gardeners for their appealing tall stalks of helmet-shaped flowers which are varied between blue, yellow, white and occasionally bi-colored.

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae – Vegetal, plants
Subkingdom Viridaeplantae – green plants
Infrakingdom Streptophyta – land plants
Division Tracheophyta – vascular plants, tracheophytes
Subdivision Spermatophytina – spermatophytes, seed plants
Infradivision Angiospermae – flowering plants, angiosperms
Class Magnoliopsida
Superorder Ranunculanae
Order Ranunculales
Family Ranunculaceae – buttercups, boutons d'or, crowfoot
Genus Aconitum L. – monkshood, aconite, wolfsbane
Direct Children:
Species Aconitum anthora L. – yellow monkshood
Species Aconitum X bicolor Schult. (pro. sp.) – twocolor monkshood
Species Aconitum carmichaelii Debeaux – Carmichael's monkshood
Species Aconitum columbianum Nutt. – Columbian monkshood
Species Aconitum delphiniifolium DC.
Species Aconitum ferox Wall. ex Ser. – Indian aconite
Species Aconitum fischeri Rchb. – Fischer monkshood
Species Aconitum lycoctonum L.
Species Aconitum maximum Pall. ex DC. – Kamchatka aconite
Species Aconitum napellus L. – Venus' chariot
Species Aconitum reclinatum A. Gray – trailing white monkshood
Species Aconitum uncinatum L. – southern blue monkshood
Species Aconitum variegatum L. – Manchurian monkshood

References and Further Reading

  • Aconitum L., Taxonomic Serial No.: 18411
  • Collier's Encyclopedia, ©1960
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