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Fischer Monkshood

fischer monkshood aconitum fischeri wolfsbane azure monks hood ftimg

Fischer Monkshood

Aconitum fischeri

Description & Overview

CAUTION: All parts of this plant are poisonous. Handle with care.

The stunning, deep-blue flower spikes of Fischer Monkshood provide a beautiful, (but deadly) vertical accent to the garden. Individual blooms are helmet or hood-shaped. Attractive, deeply lobed foliage makes this plant a dazzling addition to beds and borders. Fischer Monkshood may also be known as Wolfsbane and Azure Monkshood.


Core Characteristics

Wisconsin Native: No – Introduced
Mature Height: 18-24 inches
Mature Spread: 12-18 inches
Growth Rate: Perennial
Growth Form: Upright
Light Requirements: Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Moist, well-drained, cool soil
Flower: Deep Blue, helmet-shaped, on 8-inch spike
Bloom Period: August-September
Foliage: Medium Green
Fall Color: Insignificant, can be red to orange and yellow
Fruit Notes: Pod

Suggested Uses:

Fischer Monkshood works well as a vertical accent or border in part-shade areas with rich, well-drained soil. As this plant is poisonous, we do not recommend siting Fischer Monkshood where exposure to humans and/or animals is likely. Sites to avoid include:

  • Along sidewalks or pathways
  • Near children’s play areas, such as sandboxes or play structures
  • Near food gardens, especially those that grow root vegetables
  • Near dog runs, kennels, or areas where dogs dig
  • fischer monkshood aconitum fischeri wolfsbane azure monks hood

    Wildlife Value:

    The 8 inch spikes of blue flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinators. The poisonous nature of the foliage, roots, and other plant parts makes Fischer Monkshood inedible for animal browsing.

    Maintenance Tips:

    CAUTION: All parts of this plant are toxic, and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with the plant’s sap. Wear gloves when cutting, planting, or working around Fischer Monkshood. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working with the plant (even if you have worn gloves), and take care to cover any open cuts you may have prior to handling any plant material.

    Fischer Monkshood prefers moist, organically rich soil. While plants do best when compatible with existing soils, if you must amend the site you should apply a top dressing of compost to your planting space. Fischer Monkshood is slow to establish, and it should not be transplanted once sited. The roots and seeds are especially toxic- in case you need another reason to avoid transplanting.

    After the plant’s first blooms are finished, you can cut back the spent flowers to encourage a second (although less intense) late season bloom. Foliage is attractive in fall and can be left up over winter. The old foliage can then be cleaned up in spring just as the new growth starts to emerge.

    Pests/Problems:

    Fischer Monkshood has few disease or insect issues; these are typically found when the plant is grown in an incompatible site. When soils are excessively moist and poorly drained, Fischer Monkshood can develop Crown Rot, Powdery Mildew, and Verticillium Wilt. These issues can be somewhat remedied with changes in water habits, but if soils are heavy and poorly drained, this plant is not likely to thrive or survive long-term.

    Leaf Lore:

    CAUTION: All parts of this plant are toxic, and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with the plant’s sap. Wear gloves when cutting, planting, or working around Fischer Monkshood. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after working with the plant (even if you have worn gloves), and take care to cover any open cuts you may have prior to handling any plant material.

    Fischer Monkshood is native to China and Korea.

    Fischer Monkshood is also known as Wolfsbane as it was historically used to poison wolves. Tinctures of the poisonous sap were mixed with bait piles, or applied to weapon tips to paralyze and kill animals. Another name for this plant is Devil’s Helmet due to its toxic properties and flower structure.

    The active toxin in Fischer Monkshood is Aconitine, an alkaloid that causes neurological, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular effects within hours of ingestion. Death usually occurs within 6 hours if a fatal dose is ingested, which can be as low as 4 teaspoons. If you experience headache, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea after working near this plant, seek medical attention immediately as rapid treatment is critical.

    Companion Plants:

    Fischer Monkshood can be paired with other perennials of similar site requirements. Good candidates include Turtlehead, Solomon’s Seal, Cinnamon Fern, Astilbes, and Hostas.


    Fischer Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Azure Monkshood Aconitum fischeri benchcard

    Fischer Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Azure Monkshood BENCHCARD