Their particular appearance and their poisonousness gave rise to myths and legends, which have always indicated the aconite as the flower of revenge and guilty love. Greek mythology tells that Cerberus, a three-headed dog from Hecate, queen of Hades, brought aconite seeds into the foam. When Hercules kidnapped the beast, dragging it foaming with rage on the earth, it favored the spread of the seeds along the way; This is how the aconite seeds arrived in this world. According to the Norwegian tradition this flower represented, for its particular shape, the Helm of Odin, the most valiant Teutonic warrior. This special hat gave anyone who wore it the magical power to make themselves invisible to men. The Christian religion considers it the hood of the monks. In France it is popularly called the Venus chariot.
The aconite (also called Jupiter's helmet) are very simple plants to cultivate that adapt well to both sunny and slightly more shady locations. They can be usefully used in flowerbeds or mixed borders to give verticality, perhaps alternating with delphinium or lupine. They are also able to create beautiful color contrasts thanks to the wide range of colors in which they are declined.
We only need to pay some attention if there are children or pets in our garden: it is in fact a particularly toxic herbaceous plant (one of the most poisonous plants that can be found spontaneously in Europe). In those cases it is good to place individuals in areas that are difficult to reach and also to avoid being touched, since the alkaloid is so dangerous that it can penetrate even through the skin.
|Family and gender|
Ranunculaceae, gen. aconitum, more than 300 species
|Type of plant||Perennial arbaceous with tuberous roots|
|Exposure||Half shade, sun|
|Ground||Fresh and rich, even slightly calcareous|
|Irrigation||Frequent, without stagnation|
|Composting||Regular, from March to October|
|colors||Blue, purple, lavender, white, pink, yellow, green|
|Flowering||Depending on the species, from May until November|
|Crop care||Cleaning and removal of used flowers|
|Note||Attention, very poisonous plant|
Description and classification aconite
The genus Aconitum includes about 300 species coming from the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, especially from Asia; those cultivated are few though. Most are herbaceous plants with tuberous rhizomes; the leaves are deep green, more or less rounded and divided into lobes, from three to seven, each of which can be serrated or further divided into narrower lobes which, in some cases, give the whole a feathery and light appearance.
Over time the basal leaves become quite ugly until they almost disappear. This is why, for the whole to be decorative, it is always advisable to insert the aconite in the second or third floor so that the foot is hidden by other lower essences in the front.
The flowers range from blue to purple, but even rarer shapes are available in white, pink or even yellow. They develop in spike-shaped apical inflorescences. In some species they are already present in mid-spring (generally May), in others it is instead necessary to wait for at least midsummer, if not autumn.
In reality the ornamental part of the flower is represented not by the petals, but by the tepals. The upper one is called a helmet and has the characteristic shape of a hood. The true petals of the flower are actually very small in size.
A bit of history
Aconite has been known since ancient times for the toxic activity of its alkaloids. It was indeed used to poison the wells and aquifers of the enemies. It was also common to use it to poison the arrowheads.
According to a Greek legend he was born from the burr of Cerberus, a dog with three heads of the underworld.
In the Middle Ages it also began to be considered a magical plant. She was given the ability to ward off werewolves, vampires, and other evil beings. It was also used in folk medicine, although not always successfully.
|first name||flowers||Flowering period||height||features|
|Blue scepter||Blue, perfumed terminal ears||July August||70 cm||hybrid|
|Bressingham Spire||Blue-violet||August September||Up to 1 m||Leaves dark green, erect, with many secondary ears|
|Eleanora white suffused with blue|
From June to August
|From 60 to 150 cm||Leaves deeply lobed|
|Bicolor white with blue margins||Up to 120 cm|
|Grandiflorum white albums||Up to 110 cm||Green buds|
|Pink sensation pale pink||Up to 100 cm|
|Sp. Blue lavender||Autumn||From 60 cm to 2 meters||Dark green leaves, large flowers, from China and Vietnam|
|Lavender blue arendsii||September October||120 cm||Very abundant flowering|
|Intense blue royal flush||September October||1.5 cm||Bright red leaves in spring|
|Blue lavender Baker's variety||September October||1.5 cm|
|Kelmscott lavender intense||September October||1.5 m|
|Spatlese light lavender||September October||1.5 m|
|Gray, purple, green, blue, burgundy||July to October||2-5 meters||Climbing vine with leaves similar to those of the vines, bunches from 2 to 12 flowers. From China.||A. blue purple spark||July September||Up to 1.5||Short ears with lots of little flowers, dark leaves|
|Violet, blue, yellowish or cream white||From June to August||Up to 2 meters||From Asia, Europe and Africa|
|Subsp dark violet lycoctonum||60-150 cm|
|Subsp. Pale yellow Neapolitanum||Up to 120 cm||From southern Europe|
|Subsp. Pale yellow vulparia||Up to 120 cm||France, Holland|
|Purple or blue||From May to June||Up to 3 m||From Europe, Asia and North America|
|Dark blue Bergfurst||1.2 meters|
|Blue blue valley||July and August||1 m||Many small flowers|
|Subsp. Anglicanum lavender||May and June||Up to 90 cm|
|Rubellum rosé||1.5 m|
|White albidum||July August||1.5 m|
|Pink meat carneum||July August||1.5 m|