First cultivated in the mid-1500s, Aconitum derivatives were used as both a medicine and a poison, and an unwanted husband might have easily met his end while drinking his dear wife’s tonic. Simply Medieval! Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous, but the stately Aconitum still deserves a place in our gardens because of the unusual late season blooms it hoists in masses on stalwart stems.
An excellent cut flower, unique for its large, draped sepal, Aconitum loves moist, but not wet soils, cool summer nights, and protection from the heat of the day. Perfect in the border or at woodland’s edge, their bold presence makes an engaging companion to Anemone, Helenium and late blooming Persicaria.
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