CPC Plant Profile: Northern Wild Monkshood
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Plant Profile

Northern Wild Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense)

The flowers of the northern monkshood bloom from July to August. Photo Credit: J. Selby
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • State: IA, NY, OH, WI
  • Nature Serve ID: 149181
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

The primary distinctive characteristic of this showy perennial is its large, blue, hood-shaped flowers. A single stem grows up to four feet in height and may bear several flowers. The upper sepal is modified into a helmet, which conceals the upper two petals of the flower. The plant blooms between July and September, with its peak in August. Also, like many members of the buttercup family, the coarsely-toothed leaves are broad and deeply lobed (ONHP 2007).

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Updates
Center for Plant Conservation
  • 11/25/2021
  • Reintroduction

Aconitum noveboracense, Northern wild monkshood, is found in several states, but only in two populations in Ohio. One population is protected and stable, while the other population, at Gorge Metro Park in Akron, Ohio, has been severely threatened by salt run-off from an nearby road. The goal of the project was to produce plants to augment the declining population, while, at the same time, work was undertaken to redirect the salt run-off.

Procedures for the in vitro propagation of Northern wild monkshood were developed at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) in collaboration with the Holden Arboretum in a project funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Tissues from plants in the stable population were used to develop the protocols. These methods were then used to develop a project for augmentation. Funds were procured from the Ohio Department of Transportation by Summit Metro Parks for salt remediation and for plant propagation at CREW.

Tissues were collected from plants in the Akron population and these were used to initiated individual tissue culture lines at CREW. Plants were propagated from these lines and were acclimatized to soil at CREW. Plants were then transported to Akron and planted in several locations at Gorge Metro Park in September, 2008, to augment the remaining population.

Center for Plant Conservation
  • 11/25/2021
  • Propagation Research

Aconitum noveboracense, Northern wild monkshood, is found in several states, but only in two populations in Ohio. One population is protected and stable, while the other population, at Gorge Metro Park in Akron, Ohio, has been severely threatened by salt run-off from an nearby road. The goal of the project was to produce plants to augment the declining population, while, at the same time, work was undertaken to redirect the salt run-off.

Procedures for the in vitro propagation of Northern wild monkshood were developed at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) in collaboration with the Holden Arboretum in a project funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Tissues from plants in the stable population were used to develop the protocols. These methods were then used to develop a project for augmentation. Funds were procured from the Ohio Department of Transportation by Summit Metro Parks for salt remediation and for plant propagation at CREW.

Tissues were collected from plants in the Akron population and these were used to initiated individual tissue culture lines at CREW. Plants were propagated from these lines and were acclimatized to soil at CREW. Plants were then transported to Akron and planted in several locations at Gorge Metro Park in September, 2008, to augment the remaining population.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Ohio - The Holden Arboretum received 500 seeds from Summit Metroparks in August 2014. In an effort to grow plants to enhance local populations, seeds were soaked, stratified and sown in December of 2014. 3 germinated and then perished. The remaining seeds are still at Holden and are being pulled in and out of stratification every three months in hopes that some may germinate.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Propagation Research

Holden Arboretum will begin working with Cincinnati Zoo in 2018 to try to acclimate propagated material before it is out-planted at Summit Metroparks.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Reintroduction

Cincinnati Zoo has been working with Summit Metroparks since 2002 to grow plants from tissue culture. Attempts to reestablish propagated plants insitu has been unsuccessful. Holden Arboretum will begin working with Cincinnati Zoo in 2018 to try to acclimate propagated material before it is out-planted at Summit Metroparks.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Tissue Culture

Cincinnati Zoo has been working with Summit Metroparks since 2002 to grow plants from tissue culture. Attempts to reestablish propagated plants insitu has been unsuccessful. Holden Arboretum will begin working with Cincinnati Zoo in 2018 to try to acclimate propagated material before it is out-planted at Summit Metroparks.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Propagation Research

Ohio - The Holden Arboretum received 500 seeds from Summit Metroparks in August 2014. In an effort to grow plants to enhance local populations, seeds were soaked, stratified and sown in December of 2014. 3 germinated and then perished. The remaining seeds are still at Holden and are being pulled in and out of stratification every three months in hopes that some may germinate.

  • 10/02/2020
  • Seed Collection

Ohio - The Holden Arboretum received 500 seeds from Summit Metroparks in August 2014. In an effort to grow plants to enhance local populations, seeds were soaked, stratified and sown in December of 2014. 3 germinated and then perished. The remaining seeds are still at Holden and are being pulled in and out of stratification every three months in hopes that some may germinate.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

This species occurs in three isolated geographic regions: northeastern Iowa/southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Ohio, and the Catskill Mountains of New York. The largest concentrations are in Iowa and Wisconsin. Some of the populations in this region are quite large (one population in Iowa has about 10,000 individuals). There are eleven extant occurrences in New York and only two or three in Ohio.

It is believed that this species is a glacial relict, that as the glaciers retreated during the Pleistocene, this species only survived in a microhabitat that mimiced its habitat during this cooler era, but during the glaciated time that this species was more common. The populations of this species are geographically isolated from one another and the distribution of this species is limited by its highly specific microclimate needs, which currently are near algific talus slopes in which cold air spills out from caves with ice as a substrate (Cole and Kuchenreuther 2001).

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.

Finally, genetic studies have revealed that this species is not distinguishable from the western species A. columbianum, suggesting that these two species should be considered one (Cole and Kuchenreuther 2001). With this said, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not believe that enough population data were collected to lump this species into the more western A. columbianum (Mabry et al. 2009).

Dawn M. Gerlica, Ann R. Budziak and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Drying of habitat by loss of forest canopy; herbivory (deer, rabbits, woodchucks, slugs); scientific over-collecting and poaching; soil contamination (salt, alterations in phosphorous availability); herbicide drift; hydrology modifications; invasive species; trampling; incompatible land-use.

Dawn M. Gerlica, Ann R. Budziak and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Iowa 6 counties: Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Hardin110 acres of Aconitum habitat, algific slopes, have been purchased by the Fish and Wildlife Service to be included in the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy have also purchased algific slopes to further protect the species. (USGS 2002)There are about 60 known locations within the states of Iowa and Wisconsin. One Iowa population has about 10,000 individuals (Natureserve 2001)

Wisconsin 5 counties: Grant, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, and VernonNew York 4 counties total, 3 have confirmed populations: Delaware, Sullivan, and Ulster. 1 county has a probable population that was confirmed more than 20 years ago: Chenango. (Young 2001)

There are 7-9 current populations within New York (Natureserve 2001)

Ohio 3 counties: Summit, Portage, and Hocking. There are three current populations at two sites within Ohio. In 2001, there were 35 plants counted in Gorge Metro Park and 78 plants counted in Crane Hollow State Nature Preserve. (Windus pers. com. 2002) Populations throughout its range are isolated geographically from each other and therefore have poor chance of cross-pollinating among populations. The third is almost extirpated as the habitat had been drastically altered and a single plant was found in 2006 compared to nearly 100 plants in the late 1980s (ODNR 2007)

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

The University of Akron is conducting research to study salt levels of water near the populations at Gorge Metro Park in Ohio. (Windus pers.com.2002)

Dawn M. Gerlica, Ann R. Budziak and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Iowa has purchased and installed fencing to prevent trampling by humans and livestock. (USGS 2002)

Ohio - The Holden Arboretum received 500 seeds from Summit Metroparks in August 2014. In an effort to grow plants to enhance local populations, seeds were soaked, stratified and sown in December of 2014. 3 germinated and then perished. The remaining seeds are still at Holden and are being pulled in and out of stratification every three months in hopes that some may germinate.

Cincinnati Zoo has been working with Summit Metroparks since 2002 to grow plants from tissue culture. Attempts to reestablish propagated plants insitu has been unsuccessful. Holden Arboretum will begin working with Cincinnati Zoo in 2018 to try to acclimate propagated material before it is out-planted at Summit Metroparks.

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Monitoring to determine population status and extent of threats. (USGS 2002)

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Aconitum noveboracense
Authority A Gray ex. Corville
Family Ranunculaceae
CPC Number 29
ITIS 181849
USDA ACNO2
Common Names Northern Monkshood | Northern Wild Monkshood | Northern Blue Monkshood
Associated Scientific Names Aconitum columbianum ssp. columbianum | Aconitum uncinatum ssp. noveboracense | Aconitum noveboracense | Aconitum noveboracense var. quasiciliatum | Aconitum noveboracense var. pseudociliatum | Aconitum uncinatum subsp. noveboracense
Distribution 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).
State Rank
State State Rank
Iowa S2
New York S1
Ohio S1
Wisconsin S2
Habitat

The preferred habitats of this species include algific talus slopes, partially shaded cliffs and streamsides. The most necessary components are high humidity and cool soil conditions by either cold air flow or cold water flow, or both. It grows on either sandstone or limestone. Soil studies at some sites have revealed low available phosphorus levels (Cole and Kuchenreuther 2001).

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bumble bees Bumble bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bumble bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus appositus Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus bifarius Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus edwardsi Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus flavifrons Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus juxtus Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus occidentalis Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus rufocinctus Floral Visitor Link
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bees Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bumble bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus flavifrons Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bumble bees Bombus appositus Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Ohio Reinforcement 2008

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