Climbing Monks…hoods

Yet another subject that I don’t have enough time to dedicate – the climbing Aconitum species. While the old fashioned monkshoods have been in the gardens and are well known for a long time (yes, despite the fact that they are highly poisonous), the climbing ones are still to raise a few eyebrows. Most of them, like A. hemsleyanum, A. volubile, and A. uncinatum with the usual blue flowers are a bit more common than this one that makes me start the conversation: Aconitum alboviolaceumfrom China, Korea, Far East Russia, where it grows in “forest, scrub in valleys, mountains; 300-1400 m” (Flora of China vol.6). Two varieties are recognized: var. alboviolaceum: with twining stems – 100-250 cm and var. erectum – stems up to 30 cm tall.

Aconitum alboviolaceum

Aconitum alboviolaceum var. alboviolaceum

Raised from seed and in its third year now, it twined very gracefully around a snake bark maple in the Display Garden at Lost Horizons, without becoming too cumbersome. In a perfect match with the snake bark, rows of monks with pink&white hoods are now, slowly climbing up….





8 replies
  1. composerinthegarden
    composerinthegarden says:

    These are beautiful! I used to grow the non-climbing ones, partly because they were supposed to be resistant to deer. Not so; they ate every one to the ground. Since aconitum is poisonous, I looked for nearby bodies, but none were to be seen. Apparently deer are immune to it. Nice to know that someone can grow it!

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