Aconite - Aconitum napellus
© Mikell Y. Worley, Aconite, Watercolor sketch, 3' x 5"
Folk names for aconite - blue rocket devil's helmet, leopard's mane,
monkshood, mousebane, wolf's bane, woman's bane,
A thirty-three year old gardener, Nathan Greenaway, died of multiple organ failures after touching monkshood. If that doesn't convince you to keep your distance, there is no hope.
Wolf's bane is a member of the Ranunculus family, as is the seemingly innocent buttercup. But beware. All members of this family, over 500 varieties, are poisonous.
Aconite, from the Greek work akon, meaning dart or javelin, was used on the tips of arrows to kill wolves. Legend states that the arrows never missed their mark and death from the plant's poison was immediate. I can't help but wonder who gathered and prepared the arrows, as all parts of the plant are extremely poisonous even to the the touch.
Monkshood remind me of delphiniums - same family - and both are grown in gardens as ornamental flowers. You won't find them in mine. The story of the gardener is more than enough to deter me. The original headline was that he had merely brushed past the plant and the result was death, The reputation for the herb's toxicity is enough to convince me to keep my distance.
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!