The genus Aconitum worldwide is notorious for complex patterns of morphologic intergradation that blur the lines between taxa. Aconites from different regions may be morphologically distinct but connected by a series of intermediate races[
]. There have been huge differences of opinion between botanists as to how to define a species in this genus, with the Flora of N. America recognizing around 100 species worlwide[
], whilst the Flora of China recognizes 211 species in China alone and around 400 species worldwide[
]. We are following the proposed treatment in the 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families', which is still under review, but currently (2016) recognizes about 320 distinct species (391 including hybrids and infraspecific forms) and over 1,000 synonyms[
Aconitum anthoroideum DC.
Aconitum anthorum St.-Lag.
Aconitum candollei Rchb. ex Steud.
Aconitum coeruleum Blocki
Aconitum confertiflorum (DC.) Gáyer
Aconitum decandollei Rchb.
Aconitum eulophum Rchb.
Aconitum inclinatum Sweet
Aconitum jacquinii Rchb.
Aconitum nemorosum Bieb. ex Reichenb.
Aconitum nemorosum M.Bieb. ex Rchb.
Aconitum ochroleucum Salisb.
Aconitum pallasii Rchb.
Aconitum pseudanthora Blocki ex Pacz.
Aconitum pseudanthora Wender.
Aconitum pyrenaicum Pall.
Aconitum tuberosum Patrin ex Rchb.
Aconitum versicolor (Steven ex Ser.) Steven ex Ledeb.
Anthora saxatilis Fourr.
Anthora versicolor Steven ex Ser.
Delphinium anthora Baill..
Aconitum anthora is a herbaceous perennial plant producing an erect, sparingly-branched stem 15 - 100cm tall from an underground tuber[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is grown as an ornamental, valued especially for its flowers and attractive leaves.
The aconites have been of interest since ancient times because they contain diterpene alkaloids that range from relatively nontoxic to deadly poisonous. In various parts of the world they have been used medicinally and as a source of poisons throughout history. The use of Aconitum alkaloids in modern Western medicine was largely discontinued by the late 1930's and early 1940's, though the roots are still widely used in traditional medicine, especially in Asia[
Europe - France and Spain, eastwards through Europe to western Asia - Caucasus and Kazakhstan.
Steppe meadows, rarely in inundated or dry-valley meadows, herb-covered and stony slopes, and mountain river valleys; in the alpine zone in alpine meadows and tundras, and on glacial moraines[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Grows best in a moist, humus-rich soil in partial shade, succeeding in full sun so long as the soil does not become dry[
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[
The bitter root has been used as an antidote to poison, to cure fevers, and to combat helminths, etc[
The plant contains alkaloids and is more or less toxic. Great care should be exercised if using this remedy.
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[