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any of several species of the genus Aconitum of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercupbuttercup
or crowfoot,
common name for the Ranunculaceae, a family of chiefly annual or perennial herbs of cool regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Thought to be one of the most primitive families of dicotyledenous plants, the Ranunculaceae typically have a simple
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 family), hardy perennial plants of the north temperate zone, growing wild or cultivated for ornamental or medicinal purposes. They contain violent poisons that were recognized from early times and were mentioned by Shakespeare (2 King Henry IV, iv:4); more recently they have been used medicinally in a liniment, tincture, and drug, and in India on spears and arrows for hunting. The drug aconite, the active principle of which is the alkaloid aconitine, is used as a sedative, e.g., for neuralgia and rheumatism, and is obtained from A. napellus. Aconites are erect or trailing, with deeply cut leaves and, in late summer and fall, hooded showy flowers of blue, yellow, purple, or white. The name wolfsbane derives from an old superstition that the plant repelled werewolves. Winter aconite is a name for plants of the genus Eranthis, wild or garden perennials of the same family. Aconites are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Ranunculales, family Ranunculaceae.
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(pop culture)

Aconite (aconitum napellus) is another name for wolfsbane or monkshood. This poisonous plant was believed by the ancient Greeks to have arisen in the mouths of Cerberus (a three-headed dog that guards the entrance to Hades) while under the influence of Hecate, the goddess of magic and the underworld. It later was noted as one of the ingredients of the ointment that witches put on their body in order to fly off to their sabbats. In Dracula (Spanish, 1931), aconite was substituted for garlic as the primary plant used to repel the vampire.


Emboden, William A. Bizarre Plants: Magical, Monstrous, Mythical. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1974. 214 pp.
The Vampire Book, Second Edition © 2011 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Aconitum), monkshood, a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Ranunculaceae. Roots are tuberous and thickened; leaves palmate-incised or palmate-compound; flowers yellow, blue, or violet, rarely white, arranged in a more or less thick apical raceme. The calyx consists of five petaloid colored bracts. The upper bract resembles a helmet covering two nectaries (modified petals). About 300 species grow in the northern hemisphere, about 75 of these in the USSR. Most of the aconite species are poisonous; they contain alkaloids such as aconitine and zongorine. Many aconite species are cultivated as ornamentals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Any plant of the genus Aconitum. Also known as friar's cowl; monkshood; mousebane; wolfsbane.
A toxic drug obtained from the dried tuberous root of Aconitum napellus; the principal alkaloid is aconitine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, aconitum
1. any of various N temperate plants of the ranunculaceous genus Aconitum, such as monkshood and wolfsbane, many of which are poisonous
2. the dried poisonous root of many of these plants, sometimes used as an antipyretic
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Other species bloom earlier in the year, though Aconitum variegatum is good for late summer, when the blue and yellow flowers are produced on nicely manageable plants, 1.5m tall and 60cm across (5ft x 2ft).
Convolvulus Ipomoea, Sweet Pea, Morning Glory, Borage, Lobelia, Viola, Salvia Patens, Nigella, Ageratum, Nemophila, Centaurea, Brachycome, Felicia, Anchusa, Campanula, Delphinium, Iris, Geranium, Veronica, Aconitum, Meconopsis, Gentian, Balloon Flower, Tradescantia, Scabious.
Her chief complaints had been anxiety and insomnia, for which Aconitum napellus had helped her the most.
Monkshood or Aconitum - This eerily beautiful dark purple flower is not only capable of causing severe skin rashes and poisoning humans, it could poison and kill a dog who digs it up and eats the root (this has actually happened!).
Aconitum napellus (monkshood) is used for the fear that comes before flying, but also for fear or shock occurring during the flight, such as terror from turbulence.
Aconitum Napellus: He seems fearful and his skin is hot and dry.
The ones which pose the biggest potential hazards include monkshood (Aconitum), laburnum (except Laburnum x wateri 'Vossii' which rarely sets seed) and Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed, admittedly not a garden plant, but it may crop up as a weed).
-WOLFSBANE (Aconitum lycoctonum) was used as a human poison in imperial Rome.
Aconitum Napellus - If he seems fearful and his skin is hot and dry.
There's a range of bouquets to send around the world at Including the Renaissance Bouquet for pounds 24.25 which uses roses, aconitum and chrysanths.Instead of continually splashing out on fresh flowers treat yourself to longer-lasting silk ones from They offer ready made arrangements, or design your own from a huge range including the giant delphiniums pictured at $14.90 each (pounds 10.20).If you're allergic to the real thing try for a selection of Monet posters.
Aconitum hetrophyllum###Chrysopogan spp###Oxytropis mollis###Rhodiola wallichiana