The primary distinctive characteristic of this showy perennial, Northern Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense), is its large, blue, hood-shaped flowers. A single stem grows up to four feet in height and may bear several flowers.
This endangered taxon is found in Iowa, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin (ONHP 2007). A majority of the species in found in the Driftless area of Iowa, an unglaciated portion of land that expands into southwest Wisconsin (Pusateri et. al. 2003). The species is slow-growing, very sensitive to disturbance, and is currently significantly threatened by various disturbances including dams, reservoirs, road/powerline construction and maintenance, quarrying and logging operations. The lack of protected occurrences in some areas is of concern.
CPC thanks Holden Arboretum for helping preserve the Northern Monkshood. The Holden Arboretum is dedicated to collecting woody plants for ornamental and scientific merit for northeastern Ohio. Education, research, and conservation efforts juxtapose with the plant collections and natural areas to make The Holden Arboretum one of the nation’s leading horticultural institutions.
Photo credit: J. Selby.