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Useful Temperate Plants

Aconitum lethale

Griff.

Ranunculaceae


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[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. 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[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
], whilst the Flora of China recognizes 211 species in China alone and around 400 species worldwide[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Aconitum balangrense Lauener

Aconitum balfourii Stapf

Aconitum deltoideum Lauenar

Aconitum falconeri Holmes ex Stapf

Aconitum ferox spicatum Brühl

Aconitum laciniatum fractiflexum Lauener

Aconitum patulum Tamura

Aconitum spicatum (Brühl) Stapf

Aconitum tamuranum Lauenar

Caltha codua Buch.-Ham.

Common Name:

Aconitum lethale

General Information

Aconitum lethale is a herbaceous perennial plant with an erect, unbranched stem that can grow 90 - 150cm tall and can have a somewhat climbing habit. The stem grows from a biennial tuberous root that produces a new tuber each year, the old tuber dying after the plant flowers[
1051
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden Vol.10
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal, this edition contains a treatment of the genera Dalbergia and Aconitum in Asia. Rather old, but a wealth of information, illustrations etc.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for medicinal use.

Known Hazards

The root, and probably all the plant, is very poisonous[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
,
243
Title
Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal.
Year
1993
ISBN
-
Description
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
].
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[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - Himalayas from Nepal to Tibet at an elevation of 2,200 - 4,200 metres

Habitat

Forests in the upper subalpine areas in open positions on rocky slopes.

Properties

Medicinal Rating *
HabitPerennial
Height1.20 m
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Grows best in a moist, humus-rich soil in partial shade, succeeding in full sun so long as the soil does not become dry[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
All Aconitum species are prohibited for export in India if the plants have been collected from the wild. Cultivated specimens can be exported from India[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes[
54
Title
How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Hatfield. A. W.
Publisher
Frederick Muller Ltd
Year
1977
ISBN
0-584-10141-4
Description
Interesting reading.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The tuber is used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency - it is also very poisonous[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
,
243
Title
Medicinal Plants of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
Dept. of Medicinal Plants. Nepal.
Year
1993
ISBN
-
Description
Terse details of the medicinal properties of Nepalese plants, including cultivated species and a few imported herbs.
]. The root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and vermifuge[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
]. It dries up serous fluids and is used in the treatment of all types of pain and inflammation from gout or arthritis, all disorders due to worms or micro-organisms, amnesia, loss of bodily heat, leprosy and paralysis[
241
Title
Tibetan Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Tsarong. Tsewang. J.
Publisher
Tibetan Medical Publications, India
Year
1994
ISBN
81-900489-0-2
Description
A nice little pocket guide to the subject with photographs of 95 species and brief comments on their uses.
].

The root is white, almost horny, taste rather indifferent to rather bitter, followed by a tingling and a burning sensation[
1051
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden Vol.10
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal, this edition contains a treatment of the genera Dalbergia and Aconitum in Asia. Rather old, but a wealth of information, illustrations etc.
].
Tubers can contain 0.5% (mother tuber) to 1% (daughter tuber) of the poisonous alkaloid pseudaconitine[
1051
Title
Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden Vol.10
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta
Year
1905
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical journal, this edition contains a treatment of the genera Dalbergia and Aconitum in Asia. Rather old, but a wealth of information, illustrations etc.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
111
Title
Popular Hardy Perennials.
Publication
 
Author
Sanders. T. W.
Publisher
Collingridge
Year
1926
ISBN
-
Description
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
]. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. 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[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
111
Title
Popular Hardy Perennials.
Publication
 
Author
Sanders. T. W.
Publisher
Collingridge
Year
1926
ISBN
-
Description
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
]. 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[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-11-26. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Aconitum+lethale>

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