Herbs & Plants

Aconitum Hemsleyanum

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Botanical Name:Aconitum hemsleyanum
Family : Ranunculaceae
Common Name : Climbing Monkshood
Genus : Aconitum
Habitat: Aconitum hemsleyanum  is native to  E. Asia – C. and W. ChinaForests, forest margins, scrub, mountains and grassy slopes at elevations of 1700 – 3500 metres.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade;

Aconitum hemsleyanum is a deciduous, herbaceous perennial with a climbing habit. Its glossy dark green leaves are ovate-pentagonal, deeply lobed with up to 7 segments and up to 12cm long and 13cm across. Its stems are twining which enables this plan to climb. Its dark violet/ blue flowers are hood shaped, up to 2cm tall and appear in clusters of up to 12.  The flowers are pollinated by Bees.


The etymological root of the binomial name Aconitum is from the ancient Greek name for this plant and is loosely translated as ‘unconquerable poison’. Hemsleyanum is named after William botting Hemsley (1843 – 1924), an English botanist.

The landscape architect may find Aconitum hemsleyanum useful as a relatively low growing climbing plant with blue flowers in early autumn. Care should be taken when locating this plant due to its poisonous nature, including via skin.

Aconitum hemsleyanum prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soils.

Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. Closely related to A. fischeri and considered to be part of that species by some botanists.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Medicinal Uses
A widely used herbal remedy in China, where it is cultivated for its root. This is harvested in the autumn as the plant dies down and is then dried before being used. The root is anaesthetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, cardiotonic, stimulant and vasodilator. Use with caution, the plant is very poisonous and should not be used internally.

Known Hazards: The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Aconitum hemsleyanum

Aconitum hemsleyanum


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