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Hybrid Monkshood

Aconitum x cammarum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

Variable in colour, 5 petals
Flowers may be blue or white.
The fruit is a follicle which split open on one side to release its seeds.
An annual flower and garden escape species. The leaves are dark green and deeply divided into 3 to 5 lobes. Frequently found in cornfields.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Aconitum x cammarum is a hybrid plant in the genus Aconitum, which is a cross between two or more different species within the genus. It is a perennial herb that belongs to the Ranunculaceae family. The plant is known for its large, showy, and usually blue or purple, hooded flowers that bloom in late summer to early autumn. The leaves are usually lobed or divided, and are arranged in a basal rosette.

Aconitum x cammarum is a relatively rare hybrid and it's not as commonly found as other hybrids or species of Aconitum. It is often grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive flowers and it prefers a moist, rich, and well-drained soil and a partially shaded or sunny spot. It is also toxic and should be handled with care and not consumed. Due to its toxicity and rarity, it's not recommended for cultivation in a home garden, unless you are an experienced gardener and have knowledge about the handling of toxic plants.


Hybrid Monkshood, also known as Aconitum x cammarum, is a stunning perennial plant that belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. This striking plant is a hybrid between two other species of Aconitum - Aconitum napellus and Aconitum vulparia. The hybridization of these two species has resulted in a beautiful plant with large, erect stems, and showy flowers.

The Hybrid Monkshood plant is native to Europe, particularly the Alps and the Carpathians. It can grow up to 4 feet tall, with broad, glossy green leaves that are deeply divided into three to five lobes. The flowers are borne on tall, upright stems, and are usually dark blue, purple, or pink in color. The flowers are shaped like a hood, giving the plant its common name, Monkshood.

Hybrid Monkshood blooms in mid to late summer and is a popular choice among gardeners who want to add a touch of drama to their garden. The flowers are long-lasting and make great cut flowers for floral arrangements. However, it is important to handle the plant with care, as all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.

Hybrid Monkshood thrives in moist, well-drained soil and prefers partial shade. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate cold temperatures and is suitable for USDA zones 4-8. The plant requires regular watering, especially during dry periods, and benefits from a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.

In addition to its aesthetic value, Hybrid Monkshood has also been used for medicinal purposes. It contains alkaloids that have been used in traditional medicine to treat pain, inflammation, and fever. However, it is important to note that the plant is highly toxic and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Hybrid Monkshood is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of settings. It is commonly planted in cottage gardens, borders, and woodland gardens. It can also be grown in large containers and used as a focal point on a patio or deck.

When planting Hybrid Monkshood, it is important to choose a location that provides partial shade and well-draining soil. The plant prefers moist soil but can rot if planted in soil that is too wet. It is also important to provide support for the tall stems, as they can become top-heavy and flop over without proper support.

Hybrid Monkshood is relatively low maintenance and does not require frequent fertilization. However, it may benefit from a light application of compost or organic fertilizer in the spring. Deadheading spent flowers can also help to promote more blooms throughout the growing season.

As previously mentioned, all parts of the Hybrid Monkshood plant are poisonous if ingested, including the roots, leaves, and flowers. It is important to keep the plant away from children and pets and to wear gloves when handling the plant to avoid skin irritation.

In addition to its toxicity, Hybrid Monkshood can also be invasive in certain areas. It is important to check with your local extension office before planting Hybrid Monkshood to ensure that it is not considered an invasive species in your area.

Hybrid Monkshood is also known for its ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden. The showy flowers of the plant provide a rich source of nectar and pollen for these beneficial insects, which can help to improve overall garden health and promote biodiversity.

While Hybrid Monkshood is a beautiful plant, it is important to remember that it is highly toxic and should be handled with care. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause serious health problems, including nausea, vomiting, and even heart failure. If you suspect that you or someone else has ingested any part of the plant, seek medical attention immediately.

It is also worth noting that Hybrid Monkshood is not recommended for gardens where children or pets may be present, as they may be unaware of the plant's toxicity and could accidentally ingest it.

In terms of propagation, Hybrid Monkshood can be propagated by division in the spring or fall. To do this, carefully dig up the plant and separate the root ball into several smaller sections, making sure that each section has at least one healthy shoot. Replant the divisions in well-draining soil and water thoroughly.

Another interesting aspect of Hybrid Monkshood is its history and cultural significance. In medieval times, the plant was commonly used as a poison for hunting, warfare, and assassination. It was also believed to have magical properties and was used in various folk remedies.

In traditional Chinese medicine, a closely related species of Aconitum (Aconitum carmichaelii) has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including pain, inflammation, and respiratory issues. However, it is important to note that the use of Aconitum in traditional medicine is highly regulated, and should only be done under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

Today, Hybrid Monkshood remains a popular ornamental plant, prized for its striking blooms and easy care. It is often used in landscape design to add height and interest to garden beds and borders. With its unique history and cultural significance, Hybrid Monkshood is a fascinating plant that continues to captivate gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.

In conclusion, Hybrid Monkshood is a beautiful and intriguing plant that can enhance any garden with its stunning blooms and cultural significance. While it is important to be aware of its toxic properties and take precautions when handling the plant, with proper care and attention, Hybrid Monkshood can provide years of enjoyment and beauty in the garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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