Scientific Name: Aconitum napellus
Other names: Blue Rocket, Friar’s Cap, Auld Wife’s Huid, Old Wife’s Head, Monk’s Blood, Helmet Flower, Wolfsbane
Monkshood is a wildflower native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is a perennial wildflower with dark green, palmate leaves that grows to about 3 feet/1 meter tall and produces dark purple to bluish hood-like flowers in spiky clusters from early to mid summer.
Monkshood is a member of the aconite family.
History and Folklore
Monkshood was used historically to poison arrows and spears for hunting and battle.
Monkshood will grow in full to partial sun in zones 3-7. It likes average, moist soil and will not tolerate “wet feet”. Since monkshood resents being transplanted, it is best started from seed in the spring, but be aware that it tends to be quite slow to germinate.
Magical and Spiritual Considerations
It is used in spells related to protection and invisibility. An infusion of aconite can be sprinkled on ritual items during rituals to charge them with protective energy and the roots and leaves can be burned in a ritual fire for the same purpose. Use caution not to ingest or inhale the fumes!
Monkshood is associated with Hecate and Medea.
All aconite is poisonous and should not be ingested, nor should the fumes be inhaled.