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Aconitum columbianum subsp. columbianum

Aconitum columbianum

Continuing the series on the Ranunculaceae, or buttercup family, here is another brief entry:

This photograph of Aconitum columbianum was taken in mid-July in northern Washington. Columbian monkshood or western monkshood is primarily western North American, though disjunct populations occur in New York, Wisconsin and Ohio. Like all aconites, it is quite poisonous.

13 Comments

Wonderful photo - thanks for sharing it.

Daniel that bee caught my eye immediately! What a great capture.

Years ago, two friends became quite ill after hiking through an area in WA with a lot of Western monkshood while wearing shorts. They hadn't thought that minimal exposure would be harmful so I thought it would be helpful to pass along the info. Such deadly beauty!

I encountered this a couple years ago in the High Sierra just outside Yosemite National Park and again just outside Devil's Postpile National Monument, both around 8 to 10,000 feet.

We were hiking in pants and the trail was wide so contact was minimal. I generally don't like hiking in shorts - more skin exposed to biting/sucking insects!

according to legend a young poet named Rununculus had a warm
melodious voice even the nymphs were charmed.he often wore
green and yellow flowing robes. while singing one day he became
so entranced with his own voice that he expired in joyous ecstasy
to honor him the gods turned him into a buttercup.


thank you daniel buttercups are a fond memory

Wow that's an amazing photo! I love the bee!!!

Seeing the bee prompts my curiousity about whether the pollen of a poisonous plant is also poisonous? Never? Sometimes? Does anyone know? Thank you as always BPoT!

Mary - yes there are cases where honey can be toxic depending upon the plant where the nectar was collected, but that it's rare, as honeybees collect from all nectar-producing plants in a region, not just the poisonous ones.

Apparently oleander nectar is fatal to bees themselves.

Take all that with a grain of salt - that was just from some quick googling. I would talk to a local expert beekeeper for more definitive answers.

Thanks Eric! Should have thought of that myself. My brain apparently is collecting pollen today. Peace.

old song -you were meant for me and i was meant for you

thank you daniel

There are stories that Alexander the Great's troops were made ill- effectively destroyed as a fighting force- by Rhododendron honey which they found in caves in the Himalayas.

Connie - that actually makes sense. There are entire *forests* of Rhododendrons that grow as full sized trees in the Himalayas.

Some of the oldest specimens in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden are their Himalayan rhodies - 60 feet tall.

Great photo - I love the bee. And I do love Aconitum even though it is so toxic. But so many plants are toxic or have toxic parts.

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