Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Aconitum columbianum

Columbian monkshood

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Aconitum columbianum (Columbian monkshood)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
A usually tall, leafy plant with bilaterally symmetrical, hood-like, blue or blue-violet flowers in a showy raceme. The stems of this tuberous perennial are usually erect, stout and 2-6 ft. tall, but sometimes are weak and reclining. The lower leaves are palmately lobed, becoming smaller upward. Showy flowers in a lax spike are purplish-blue and hooded. Flowering starts at the bottom of the spike and progresses upward.

A European species of Monkshood (A. napellus), is the celebrated wolfbane of werewolf lore.

Image Gallery:

12 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , IA , MT , NV , NM , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: AK to n. CA, w. to the Rockies; also Black Hills
Native Habitat: Moist woods; stream banks; wet thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available


Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bumblebees, hawkmoths and hummingbirds.
Warning: Plants of the genus Aconitum are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. Roots, young leaves, and seeds are said to be especially toxic. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2007-01-01