Name this flower

thunderstormAugust 4, 2014

Could someone please tell me what the name of this flower is? It is 6 feet tall and it is blooming right now. A friend gave it to me and could not tell me the name.

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Here is a close up picture so this unknown yo me flower.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:07PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Gorgeous, possibly Aconitum × cammarum ‘Bicolor’, although mine doesn't get that tall.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:24PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Definitely a monkshood - probably the Bicolor. I hope you are aware that all parts of it are poisonous, so handle with care. Wear gloves and warn children never to handle it - one of my first garden memories is of my mother sternly warning my sister and me to NEVER handle this plant! It grew in one corner of the front garden and had been planted in the 1880s by one of my great-grandmothers. A beautiful plant, but I've never been able to bring myself to plant it in my garden :-)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 5:25PM
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My first thought when I looked at the picture was Aconitum/monkshood but I've never seen a variegated one so it threw me off. It's certainly a gorgeous plant.

I never could bring myself to grow it due to the extreme toxicity of all parts of it. Even guilt over pollinators couldn't overcome my reluctance to grow something that poisonous to humans & other critters.

Couldn't find anything under Aconitum x cammarum but the link below provides some generic monkshood information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aconitum/monkshood

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Woody's warning is very appropriate:

I do grow a number of monkshoods, but never plant them where children or pets have easy access to them.

Many gardeners know the gist of the following:

All parts of the monkshoods seen in gardens are extremely poisonous; the concentration of the toxin, aconitine, is especially high in the roots and seeds.

Eating any parts of the plant can prove fatal. Oral doses as low as 1.5 mg have killed human beings. There is no antidote. Treatment is only possible for the symptoms.

Aconitine is also easily absorbed through undamaged skin. Personally, I don't always use gloves around monkshood (e.g. tying it to supports), but do in such cases wash my hands afterwards. I certainly do use gloves to do things like cutting the plant back and separating tubers.

At the same time, monkshood is used in the cut flower business. I'm assuming that they use gloves too.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:19PM
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What is the name of this flower...perennial?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:07PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Campanula persicifolia 'Flore Pleno'.

You are likely to get more people looking at a fresh post, so, for future reference, it is best to start a new thread for a new question. I'm sure it is inadvertent oversight, but is also nice for those who answered your previous enquiry to receive acknowledgement that you've seen their responses.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 4:23AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I grow many aconitums and am alarmed by this alarmist talk of alarmingly poisonous plants (which, in my garden would probably be nearly all of them). You do not need to avoid planting it and by all accounts, the hugely poisonous attributes of aconitum are more likely mythic rather than factual....but hey, here's a bit about it from the 'Poison Garden' at Alnwick Castle

How Poisonous, How Harmful?

The principal alkaloids are aconite and aconitine. Of these aconitine is thought to be the key toxin. Ingestion of even a small amount results in severe gastrointestinal upset but it is the effect on the heart, where it causes slowing of the heart rate, which is often the cause of death.

The poison may be administered by absorption through broken skin or open wounds and there are reports of florists being unwell after working with the flowers but there are no documented cases.

Its distinctive taste makes it unpleasant to eat so accidental poisoning is extremely rare but not unknown. The taste is described as initially very bitter followed by a burning sensation and, then, a numbing of the mouth.

In July 2014, I was contacted by someone whose small terrier had died after eating some of the root. The dog had buried a bone at the base of the plant and is thought to have scratched at the root when retrieving it. It is not clear whether the owner had bought the plant from somewhere other than an HTA member garden centre or whether the warning required by the HTA list of potentially harmful plants had proved inadequate.

A rising young Canadian actor, Andre Noble, accidentally ate monkshood on 30th July 2004 whilst on a camping trip. He is said to have believed he was eating wild parsnip.

Until recently, the only well established case of murder with aconitine was in 1881 when Dr. Lamson used it to poison his brother-in-law after putting it in the newly invented soluble capsules for taking medicine without having to taste it. The 'yuck' inducing details of how Dr. Lamson was convicted form one of the highlights of the Medical Murderers talk.

In February 2010, Lakhvir Singh was convicted of the murder of her lover, Lakhvinder Cheema, who died after eating a curry to which Ms Singh had added the extract of Aconitum ferox, known as Indian monkshood or Himalayan monkshood. His new fiancée, with whom he shared the meal, became very ill but recovered. Media reports have described the poisoning agent as aconitine but the primary alkaloid in Aconitum ferox is pseudoaconitine, sometimes called Indian aconite.

Gurjeet Choongh, who survived the poisoning, told the court that Mr Cheema said that he felt numb and 'everything was going dark'. Mr Choongh, who ate less of the leftover curry, later began experiencing similar feelings as well as abdominal pain. The two were treated in hospital but it was not possible to save Cheema. Both experienced severe vomiting and the tachycardia expected in Aconitum poisoning but no aconitine was found. One of those involved in the case had read an 1845 publication about Aconitum napellus that had mentioned 'far-eastern' species and noted that these might have different effects. When an herbal remedy was found in the killer's possession, tests showed that it contained pseudaconitine and this alkaloid was also found in the victims.
Aconitum napellus, monkshood

Aconitum napellus, monkshood

Again in February 2010, a case was reported from India of a 62-year old man given a herbal remedy for diarrhoea who suffered severe heart problems. Analysis showed that the remedy contained roots from an unidentified species of Aconitum.

In 1996, a 61 year old man died after eating the leaves of Aconitum thinking it was an edible grass.

The 2002 annual meeting of the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology heard a case report of a 36-year old man who ate an estimated 30gms of crushed root, believing it would reduce his neuropathic pain. He had heart palpitations and chest discomfort but no vomiting. He recovered after 24 hours of treatment to control ventricular tachycardia. The fact that such a large dose can have such a relatively small effect illustrates the difficulty of answering the question 'How much would it take to kill?' when applied to any poisonous plant.

In 2005, a 21-year old man made up his own capsules of crushed Aconitum root which, he believed, would work as 'natural' sleeping tablets. He suffered all the classic symptoms of monkshood poisoning but recovered after two days in the hospital ICU.

A couple thought it looked so lovely they planted it to brighten up their herb garden. When the wife picked a herb leaf salad she, accidentally, included some leaves from the monkshood and both suffered severe stomach upsets lasting two days.

These last two prove a point which was contentious for a long time. Many people said that it was only the root which was poisonous and not the leaves. Even today, it is possible to find poison plant listings that say the root is the only toxic part.

William Rhind was a 19th century Scot who trained and practiced as a doctor before turning his attention to studying and writing about natural history in all its forms. In his ‘History of the Vegetable Kingdom’ he cites a case in Sweden, though without giving a date, where a man exhibited maniacal symptoms after eating fresh leaves of the monkshood. A doctor, summoned to assist him, expressed the view that the plant could not be the cause of his disorder since it was only the root which was toxic and ate freely of the leaves to prove his point. He died in dreadful agony.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 6:00AM
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Thanks guys for all your great answers. I so appreciate this forum.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:36PM
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campanula - I appreciate the information you provided about Aconitum/monkshood and found it fascinating reading. Thank you.

My concern about monkshood toxicity isn't for myself. After I'm gone, my garden will fall into hands likely less knowledgeable than I about what is growing here. My children will inherit this property along with the gardens I've designed and planted. They're not the passionate gardener that I am. I'm mindful of the legacy I leave behind, its benefits as well as its hazards. It isn't fear; it's caution.

Are other plants I grow toxic? Chances are it's likely so but monkshood stands out as one I've learned is toxic to whatever extent. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure after all. Do I consider myself deprived of an intriguing garden perennial? Perhaps. Do I worry less or sleep better for not growing it? In my own circumstances, yes.

What's right in your garden is your concern and your choice, just as what's right in my garden is my own. Monkshood in your garden is your concern and I'm glad you grow it without worry.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 7:06PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I was pleasantly surprised this week to see that what I thought was a white actonitum is actually a bi-color plant. My plants do not get so tall or wide as the one above.

Very interesting reading about the poisoning episodes. Thanks for sharing that info.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Interesting stories. As a person who grew up in an age when our parents were less concerned over such things and we got to do dangerous things which are now verboden such as riding the merry-go-round at the park or playing in & on other non-approved places unlike todays protected children who are kept distant from all possible danger, I would irresponsibly grow this plant.

I've heard people with swimming pools in their own backyard going ballistic over something like castor bean plants but as kids we got to plant our very own castor bean plants in our own little designated spot. We thought it was ultra cool that they were poison because it added to the magic kid-wonder as we waited for those deadly seeds to form. What were our elders thinking? No one I knew had backyard swimming pool when I was growing up but we did get to live life on the edge in a hundred other unapproved & dangerous ways back in the good old days. Any kid on the block knew what poison ivy was for as far back as any of us could remember so obviously we were intelligent enough to grasp this kind of instructional information and knew what to mess with and what to leave alone. Its a wonder any of us survived but somehow we did. I suppose that makes me politically incorrect but it does seem like there is a tendency to over react just a bit on the subject of poison plants or turn it into a moral responsibility issue.

I have uncovered three black widow spiders in my garden. Kids really love seeing and learning about these if you just put it in a jar to take to the park up the street but play show and tell before releasing it. Kids are in awe of such things.

I once grew poisonous Sacred Datura aka Jimsonweed, a plant in the deadly nightshade family until I discovered those nasty vicious looking thorny seedpods explode into the air making hundreds of plants to weed the next year. The little neighborhood kids were fascinated by this plant and would bring their friends over to tell them about it in awe and whispered voices --"don't touch it, it'll make you crazy or it'll kill ya dead for sure". As adults, none of them garden but they still bring up and remember the fascination of the dreaded Jimsonweed I grew. Maybe they even wondered if I was a Witch Lady, who knows?

Kids would love those stories about aconite. Personally I usually give children a lot more credit at grasping such things than I give to adults. I'd call it Wolfsbane, which is so much more illustrative, if I was talking to a kid and spice it up right with byzantine horrors of intrigue and murder most foul, maybe toss in something about werewolf's and how the spittle of the beast Kerberos was dipped on the ground and up sprang this deadly plant..... eeeew...plenty scary kids....

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 3:14PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I think you Aconitum might be 'A. x cammarum `Eleanor' not 'Bicolor' this one has been said to grow to 6'. I have two different Aconitums in my garden 'Bicolor' and one I'm not sure what it is but it blooms in october when not to much else is in bloom besides my asters. Although all parts of this plant are poisonous it's often used in florist bouquets.
Lots of the plants we grow have negative effects of one kind or another, common sense in place one should be able to grow these plants and enjoy them.

I was taught when I was a child what not to eat or touch in the garden, I guess it stuck I'm still here :).


    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:13PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

OOOOH Witch Tex, I am shaking down to my toes, LOL. I am in your camp. I loved all the dangerous plants when i was a kid. My mom RAISED me in Shark and sea snake infested waters of the South China Sea until I was 7.We swam a lot off of their sailboat in deep waters. The vine on the outside of my house had Kraits. They could kill you in 15 minutes as the legend goes. Did I mention Cobras and Tigers (we lived in the jungle part of the time)? I was cognizant of real dangers even at a young age. Poisonous plants are safe as long as you don't ingest what you don't know. They don't slither in the window at night and bite. Plants were not even on the top ten list of things to watch out for.

There is a new term that makes me laugh. "Nanny State". It is the urge to legislate and otherwise make the world so safe it will bore you to tears and all we will have is mediocre kids, no daring, no imagination. Better keep our myths without any violence and sounding like milk paste while we are at it. No Hans Christian Anderson for them.. No diving boards, no Greg Luganis. The rest of the world thinks that we are a bunch of nanny's when it comes to all things dangerous. That we have jumped the shark on this issue.

Gardenweed, I would imagine that the kids that will inherit your garden will be of the age to not eat the garden unconsciously. One could also put a warning in the will. My garden has a host of Dangerous things. I even have Death Camus, locoweed, hemlock, crows poison, oleander, larkspur, datura, bruganmansia,just for starters.

Campanula, Beautiful plant.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 4:53PM
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