Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Aconitum columbianum (Columbian monkshood)
Cressler, Alan

Aconitum columbianum

Aconitum columbianum Nutt.

Columbian Monkshood

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)


USDA Symbol: acco4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

43 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, occasionally up to about 10 feet.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC
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.


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


Description: Plant fresh seeds immediately. New offset tubers can be divided in the spring. Bulbils, produced in leaf notches, should be collected and planted before they fall to the ground.
Seed Treatment: Two months of moist stratification at 40 degrees may enhance germination but is not necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.3 - Preparation for Spring Gardening, Director\'s Report, How the Length of Day and ...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Aconitum columbianum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aconitum columbianum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aconitum columbianum


Record Modified: 2023-05-03
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back