Shade Loving Native Plants of the
United States & Canada

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Acontinum, Monkshood
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Acontinum L.
Native Distribution Map


USDA Zones:  3 – 9

Shade tolerance: Shade, Part Shade

Moisture: Moist

Height:  3’ to 6’

Propagation:  Seeds, immediately. tubers (divided in spring), Bulbils

The Monkshood family of plants are native or naturalized all over the US and Canada. 

Tall, showy flowers start at the bottom and progress up the spike.  The blooms come in various shades of blue and purple. 

These stunning perennials have flowers present from July up to November, depending on the frost in your area.

Monkshood is an excellent cutting flower with very attractive ferny foliage.  It provides a light texture in the garden to contrast with coarser elements.

Monkshood is deer resistant and it is often underplanted with low growing perennials since there is about a foot of clearance to the ground from the beginning of the foliage.

Some common varieties include Columbian Monkshood, Larkspur Leaf Monkshood, and Southern Blue Monkshood. Since there are so many Monkshood species across the United States and Canada be sure to purchase the variety that grows in your area.

Northern Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense) is a threatened species because of loss of habitat.  Wild collection is strongly discouraged, and in some areas it is unlawful. 

Since they are commercially available, buying locally and planting in your garden will help the population to recover.

Growth requirements:  Moist, rich soils.  Acid loving

Benefits:  Monkshood flowers attract honeybees, hawkmoths and hummingbirds to your garden.  Make an excellent cut flower.

Monkshood is useful for phytoremediation.  This means they can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals from the environment.   They are a good choice if you live in a chemically compromised area.

Warning: Plants of the Monkshood family are toxic to humans and animals.  Avoid planting near vegetable gardens.  Always wear gloves and wash hands after handling.

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