Sweden flowers: Northern Wolf's-bane

Aconitum lycoctonum, SE: Nordisk stormhatt, DE: Gelber Eisenhut,
NL: Monnikskap, UK: Northern Wolf's-bane, Monkshood

Scientific name:  Aconitum lycoctonum L.
Scientific name:  Aconitum septentrionale Koelle, Aconitum vulparia Rchb.
Swedish name:  Nordisk stormhatt
German name:  Gelber Eisenhut
Nederlandse naam:  Monnikskap
English name:  Northern Wolf's-bane, Monkshood
Family:  Ranunculaceae, Buttercup family, Ranunkelväxter

Sweden Flowers: Aconitum lycoctonum, Northern Wolf's-bane, Gelber Eisenhut, Nordisk stormhatt

Life form:  Herbaceous perennial plant
Stems:  Height 100–200 cm, hollow, upper part densely sticky-haired
Leaves:  Alternate, basal leaves long-stalked, stem leaves short-stalked–stalkless; palmately lobed, hairy
Flowers:  18-25 long, dark violet, zygomorphic, 5 petals. The posterior (rear) petal is helmet-shaped covering the two nectaries; Tip of nectaries strongly curled; numerous stamens, usually three, but up to five free carpels; multiflowered racemes start to flower from the bottom to the top
Flowering Period:  July-August
Fruits:  Each carpel develops into one follicular fruit
Habitat:  Forest, thickets, mountains

Aconitum lycoctonum, Northern Wolf's-bane, Gelber Eisenhut,Monnikskap, Nordisk stormhatt


Derivation of the botanical name:
Aconitum, ακονιτον, used by Theophrastus(370 — c.285 BCE), & Nicander (2nd century BCE) for a poisonous plant.
lycoctonum, λυκοκτονοϛ (Greek), lycocton, "wolf-slaying".
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Koelle is used to indicate Johann Ludwig Christian Koelle (1763 – 1797), a German botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Rchb. is used to indicate Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1793 – 1879), a German botanist and ornithologist.
The main pollinators of Aconitum lycoctonum are long-tongued bumblebees, which can reach the nectar at the end of the very long nectaries by crawling slightly into the flower. In the process of nectar gathering, they touch anthers and pistils and pollinate the flower.

Pliny the Elder (23-79CE), Natural History, book XXVII:II: "...This was the poison that Marcus Caelius accused Calpurnius Bestia of using to kill his wives in their sleep...Fable has it that aconite sprang out of the foam of the dog Cerberus when Hercules dragged him from the underworld... The plant grows on bare crags which are called aconae, and for that reason some have given it the name of aconite, there being nothing near, not even dust, to give it nourishment".

Aconitum species contain alkaloid acontine, which is one of the most toxic plant compounds known.
They are poiseness, hardy tuberous perennials and in history were used in making arrow poisons. .

Aconitum lycoctonum, Northern Wolf's-bane, Gelber Eisenhut, Nordisk stormhatt


Flora of Sweden online, Native plants, Schweden