While you can apply insecticides to control this pest, there are also a number of natural parasites that will feed on the larkspur leaf miner. Those planted in full sun locations will require more water. Native to central China, this species of monkshood is sometimes commonly called autumn-flowering monkshood because of its late summer to early fall bloom. It’s possible that even the basal growth will produce some flowers. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Another potential problem to keep in mind is that azure monkshood does not produce true to seed. Grow delphiniums in moist but well-drained soil in full sun – delphiniums struggle with winter wet so aid drainage by adding grit to the planting hole if you have heavy soil. You can tell if your plants have a mite infestation if the leaves are distorted, and the flower buds dry up before blooming. Monkshood makes an excellent cut flower but be careful not to get its sap on cuts or wounds. You should sow the seeds in the fall or early winter for plants the following spring. Common names include Chinese aconite, Carmichael’s monkshood, and wolfsbane. Here is more about what we do. Noteworthy Characteristics. One of the main reasons to grow this stunning plant is for its deep, rich blue flowers. The leaves of the monkshood plant are palmate, meaning hand shaped, with lobed “fingers” that often have toothed edges and vary in color from light to dark green. ‘Kelmscott,’ winner of the Award of Garden Merit in 1993, is grown for its lovely lavender-blue flowers. Wash immediately after cutting back this plant. You can also reduce populations of leaf miners by handpicking the infested leaves and destroying them. It ​should grow into a full, stocky plant with multiple stems and blooms. Over the centuries, the toxicity of azure monkshood has been part of its allure. Use pruning shears to cut back the stems to lateral buds after the first flush of bloom is finished. Aconitum Monkshood Info. Just as beauty can hide a dark soul, the loveliness of azure monkshood belies its strong toxicity. You can purchase the beneficial wasp Diglyphus isaea that homes in on the leaf miners and lays hundreds of eggs a year. Let the plant grow about a month, then cut it back by one-third again. We were careful to wear gloves and long pants etc. After it has finished flowering, you can also cut azure monkshood back by half to encourage the production of more flowers. Put on gardening gloves before working with monkshood, because all parts of this plant, including the roots, are poisonous. Azure monkshood is not likely to end up with an aphid infestation unless it is stressed, due to a lack of water. See our TOS for more details. Helga then returned to Cornell to obtain a PhD, studying one of the model systems of plant defense. These charming flowers derive their common name from the hooded shapes of their blooms, resembling those of medieval monks. Dark green leaves are deeply divided into 5-7 toothed lobes. Plant the seeds 1 ⁄ 8 inch (0.3 cm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Monkshood are best placed at the back of a perennial border or in a woodland garden where they will add blue and white to the predominant green. Also called wolf’s bane, this plant’s name comes from Latin aconitum which means poison. Florists also use the long, elegant stems as a cut flower in arrangements. Fertilize the plant with a general-purpose fertilizer following its last bloom of the season. The plant's handsome, glossy green foliage emerges quite early in the spring. Aconitum carmichaelii is a member of the Ranunculaceae, or buttercup family, which includes clematis, hellebore, and columbine. Azure monkshood is like clematis and dahlias, in that it grows best with most of its leaves exposed to the sun, while keeping its roots cool. This species would fit well into one of those rare gardens designed entirely around poisonous plants. Conduct a soil test to determine the acidity and other qualities of the soil in your garden. Sow Monkshood seeds directly in the garden in late fall and early winter. This perennial requires a lot of moisture, but it does not like soggy conditions. Asked November 10, 2018, 4:05 PM EST. Wearing gloves is advisable when handling this plant. The name monkshood comes from the modified petals on the flowers that resemble the cowls or hoods worn by monks. Avoid planting in areas where small children might come in contact with it. May be grown from seed. 1. But safety precautions are needed when handling this species. Azure monkshood will not typically contract any diseases unless it is stressed by a lack of water. It typically tops out at two to four feet tall, but it can grow as high as five feet when growing conditions are optimal. If you collect your own seed from a specific cultivar, the seedlings may not be identical to the parent plant. Azure monkshood is a perennial flower with stunning purple-blue blooms and entrancing foliage, perfect for adding interest to a fall garden. It adds a lovely shade of deep purple and blue to a fall garden. And on a more practical lifesaving note, these poisoned arrows were also useful in hunting large animals for food. Here’s what’s ahead in this article: An alpine meadow plant, azure monkshood has been grown for centuries for its flowers. How to grow: Monkshood. Nature is anything but benign, and the natural world is rife with potentially fatal toxins in plants, fungi, and other forms of life. However, if you’re confident all contact will be safe … This cultivar grows to a mature height of up to five feet in ideal conditions. All there is to know about aconite. This perennial is suitable for gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, and possibly as far north as Zone 2. According to Cornell University (http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene0939.html) you should cut Monkshood back by half when it reaches 18" tall. She holds a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, and an MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Watch for signs of disease in late summer and cut back any infected plants. Some species are cultivated as ornamental plants, and several are used in traditional medicine. She transitioned to full-time writing in 2009. Although used in the landscape, Monkshood is poisonous, with a narcotic juice present in the leaves and roots. You should locate azure monkshood away from areas where children or pets could access it. Since they are tall plants, they are usually relegated to the back of the border. This disease usually presents as shiny black spots on the top of the leaf surface, which may be brown on the underside. Put on gardening gloves before working with monkshood, because all parts of this plant, including the roots, are poisonous. Due to its toxicity, azure monkshood tends not to have many serious problems with pests or even deer, although a few insects can cause occasional problems. Fischer Monkshood is slow to establish, and it should not be transplanted once sited. Fertilize the plant with a general-purpose fertilizer. Propagating monkshood: By seed (it must be fresh). However, the seeds can take as long as two years to germinate and may have a very low germination rate. If you harvest seeds from existing plants and will not be sowing them immediately, you should store them in moist vermiculite. They occur in the north temperate zone, usually in partial shade and in rich soil. Plant azure monkshood in a permanent location where you would like the flowers to grow, since this species is fussy and dislikes having its roots disturbed. Cornell University: Growing Guide -- Monkshood, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden; Tracy DiSabato-Aust. While azure monkshood is grown for its flowers, its dark green, toothed foliage is also attractive and unlike anything else in a fall garden. The larkspur leaf miner is a type of small fly that lays eggs inside the leaves several times a year. Wear gloves and handle the tuber-like roots carefully because they can break easily. Aconitum, the genus name, is derived from the Greek word akoniton, which means “dart.”. You can sometimes find seedlings or transplants at your local garden center or nursery. ... especially if you have a cut or scrape. delphinii. If they are exposed to enough sun, they are often quite wind-resistant and do not require staking. However, most gardeners just want to enjoy the pretty flowers and take the appropriate precautions to prevent poisoning. Cut back stems after flowering to encourage an additional late season bloom. When handling monkshood, take care to keep plant away from open wounds and be certain to wash hands thoroughly. The middle of March is a great time to prune back your roses. After it has finished flowering, you can also cut azure monkshood back by half to encourage the production of more flowers. One of Helga George’s greatest childhood joys was reading about rare and greenhouse plants that would not grow in Delaware. While it is grown for its flowers, the lobed and toothed leaves are also highly attractive. It has been reported to grow in Zones 9 and 10. The plants may take a while to become established, but they are well worth the trouble! How to Get a Monkshood Plant to Re-Bloom. For aconites, cut back to the shortest in fall and possibly protect the base of the plant in colder areas. Have you grown azure monkshood in your garden? The hoods are deep purple, while the insides of the flowers are blue. This late-flowering selection has incredible, tall spikes of deep violet-blue, hooded flowers, a total surprise when they appear in mid-autumn. Needs cool nights below 70 degrees F. to grow well, and, like the related delphiniums, will often struggle in hot St. Louis summers. It will take two to three years for the plants to mature from divisions. The roots and seeds are especially toxic- in case you need another reason to avoid transplanting. Another option to propagate azure monkshood is to divide the tuberous roots in the fall or spring. Growing azure monkshood from seed is a labor of love. The Monkshood plant does not like extreme full sun or hot climates and prefers to grow in places with partial or dappled shade such as when using for an edging plant. Deadhead the flowers after blooming to encourage additional blooms to form. Even toxic plants can be infested by insects that have become resistant to the host’s toxin. If the remaining foliage looks tatty or pale, cut the plant down to its basal growth. Monkshood poisoning is extremely rare. 21 of the Best Summer Squash Varieties for Your Garden, 21 of the Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties for the Garden, How to Grow and Care for Gaillardia (Blanket Flowers), How to Make a Fresh and Festive Holiday Sparkle Centerpiece, How to Identify, Prevent, and Treat Sooty Mold, 13 of the Best Varieties of Mustard Greens to Grow in Your Garden. Attractive dark green, glossy foliage. Though it prefers moist soil, it can grow in shade or sun. Native to Asia, monkshood is hardy in Sunset's Climate Zones A1 to A3, 1 to 9 and 14 to 21. Now that she lives near Santa Barbara, California, she is delighted that many of these grow right outside! This technique is especially useful to reduce the need for tedious staking. The monkshood family of plants (Aconitum spp.) Needless to say, monkshood is not a suitable choice if children or pets are known to spend time in your garden. Depending on the variety, monkshood blooms any time between mid-summer and late summer with magnificent 2- to 5-foot-tall spires of deep purple or blue helmet-shaped flowers. brings drama to the shade garden. Other common names monk's hood monkshood Adam and Eve bear's foot common aconite common monk's cowl Cupid's cap dumbledore's delight Elijah's chariot flapdock grandmother's nightcap friar's cap garden monk's hood garden wolf's bane Helen flower Helen's flower helmet flower monk's cap pops soldier's cap Turk's cap Venus's chariot drawn by two doves Most varieties will require staking. This species is moderately difficult to grow and requires good soil preparation. Interesting varieties of monkshood include Aconitum septentrionale “Ivorine,” with flowers of creamy white, and Aconitum cammarum “Bicolor,” with blooms streaked with white and blue. And as it can grow up to five feet tall under optimal conditions, it is a good choice for the back of a flower border. However, we accidentally stepped on parts of the plant with our shoes/brushed up against parts of it or parts of the shovel used to remove them. Aphids, cyclamen mites, larkspur leaf miners; bacterial leaf blight, crown rot. Fascinated by the childhood discovery that plants make chemicals to defend themselves, Helga embarked on further academic study and obtained two degrees, studying plant diseases as a plant pathology major. While numerous cultivars are available, two in particular stand out. Stake emerging flower stems in spring and start feeding weekly with a high potash fertiliser. Monkshood is an upright, 2 to 4 foot high perennial with lovely blue-violet, spiked flowers that appear in mid-to-late summer.The distinctive, helmet-shaped flowers resembling the hood of a monks cape, hence the common name. A second flowering can be encouraged by deadheading to a lateral bud, but second flowering will produce smaller flowers. Azure monkshood has a storied history of centuries of cultivation – and not all of it with murder in mind! Packets of 250, 500, or 1,000 adults to release into your garden are available from Arbico Organics. Monkshood is long-lived and does not react well to division or transplanting. This will encourage a second round of blooms in the same season. 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. If your garden is prone to disease and insect pests, you should definitely remove dead plant debris in the fall. Product photo via Arbico Organics. Blooming for weeks from mid to late summer, the helmet shape of the flowers makes them resemble the hood worn by medieval monks, hence the common names of monkshood or helmet flower. Be sure to cover up any open cuts before you embark on gardening with these plants. Monkshood Aconite. It is also known by its synonym A. fischeri. Design tips: Pair monkshood with other moist, shade lovers like astilbe, hosta, heuchera, and hellebores. If you want to sow seeds in the spring, put them in water or moist soil and then freeze them for three weeks – this is a process known as cold stratification. To learn more about growing flowers in your garden, try these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. Another option, ‘Royal Flush,’ has pure blue flowers and is shorter and more compact, with a mature height of just two feet. It performs well at the back of borders, providing height and textural interest. And best of all, all species of monkshood are resistant to deer, rabbits, and most insects, thanks to the toxins they produce. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. ... An example of a proper cut on a rosebush. If you choose to apply pesticides, you will kill the parasites as well, and end up trapped in a constant cycle of insecticide reapplication. While you can use compost, manure, or leaf mold, peat moss is ideal, since it is acidic. Use pruning shears to cut back the stems to lateral buds after the first flush of bloom is finished. Maintenance: Monkshood is very a low maintenance plant. It blooms later than most other species of Aconitum. After flowering, cut stems back to encourage a second flush of blooms. Unlike the other cultivars of this species, its leaves have a deep red tint in the spring. The most serious disease that may affect this plant is bacterial leaf blight, caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv. Since these are late-season bloomers and they do not repeat bloom, you won’t really need to deadhead. This cultivar grows taller and blooms later than most species of Aconitum. Some experts advise against this and do not recommend disturbing the root systems in any way, as they are slow to become established. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Keep an eye on your plants, especially during warm and dry weather, and maintain a regular watering schedule. Choose a permanent site to avoid transplanting later. Don’t let the soil dry out completely between waterings, and you will be rewarded with stunning blooms. Do not plant near the vegetable garden, where its fleshy roots could be mistaken for Jerusalem artichokes. If you accidentally expose your skin around this plant, wash with soap and water immediately. When flowering is finished for the season, cut plants back to the first set of leaves at the base of the stems. Although this species will grow in a range of pH values, it prefers mildly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Monkshood are wonderful old-fashioned perennials, perfectly suited for large border plantings. Always wash hands thoroughly after contact and avoid eating, drinking and smoking until you’ve done so. If you see signs of this disease, immediately remove affected leaves and destroy them. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Along with the attractive spikes of the blossoms, monkshood's foliage is quite attractive. Although this species may seem as if it’s out to get you, it is much more likely that it evolved toxins to protect itself from being eaten by animals. Monkshood seedlings do not like to have soggy feet. Uses for monkshood: Use in groups of three or five at the back of the garden. Put five-foot-tall stakes in the ground while the plants are still small, to avoid damaging the roots. According to old Chinese texts, extracts of this plant were used to poison arrowheads to kill opposing warriors. It makes astilbe winter care a little easier, and all new growth will come back to replace it in the spring. One of the tallest cultivars, the amethyst blue-flowered Aconitum henryi “Spark’s Variety,” reaches over 5 feet tall if staked, but otherwise tends to vine and can even be trained to a trellis. To encourage the plants to become stockier, cut the plant back by one-third once it has reached about 6 to 8 inches in height. They may be grown in full sun or part shade. The plants will die back to the ground at frost. Use gloves when handling plants as all parts are highly toxic. Cut back stems after flowering to encourage an additional late season blooms. At the end of the season, remove the stems and cover with four to six inches of mulch. Hello, My mom and I recently removed some monkshood plants from the yard. Learn more about how to divide perennials in this guide. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Monkshood, genus of more than 200 species of showy, poisonous, perennial herbs of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). This results in blotches on the leaves, and a heavy infestation can cause significant damage. It is also a good idea to locate it away from a vegetable garden where tuberous plants are growing. You can wash aphids off with a strong blast from the hose, or use an insecticidal soap for heavy infestations. When flowering is finished for the season, cut plants back to the first set of leaves at the base of the stems. Before you transplant divisions or nursery starts, carefully prepare the soil and amend with organic matter. Tell us about it in the comments below. Although plants may be propagated by division, they are often slow to establish and are probably best left undisturbed once planted. The flower stalks take the form of upright spikes that grow above the foliage. The tallest aconite varieties don’t stand to the wind well if not staked. Divine blue flowers are rare in the fall garden, but have we got a showstopper for you! When winterizing astilbe plants, you can cut all the foliage off, leaving just a 3-inch (7.5 cm) stem above ground. Plant as soon as the ground is workable in the spring. These ingredients might have been selected to balance out each other's poisonousness. Read more about aphids in the garden here. When you work with this perennial, you should wear disposable plastic gloves to protect yourself from the toxins. The maggots tunnel between the upper and lower leaf surfaces. June is the ideal time for cutting these back. The blooming season is mid- late summer and into fall. Aconitum napellus is an erect, tuberous-rooted perennial which features dense, terminal racemes (to 8" long) of hooded, deep purplish-blue to violet flowers atop rigid, leafy stems typically growing 2-4' tall. However, it will not thrive in areas with nighttime temperatures above 70°F. A source of toxins for warfare – what’s not to love? Like the other species of Aconitum, this one prefers to have its roots planted in humus-rich soil that stays moist but drains well. Allow the basal growth to remain over the winter. Wear gardening gloves when in contact with any part of the plant. It is not an easy endeavor, unless you plant the seeds very soon after harvesting them. Even when the plants are established, do not let the soil dry out completely between waterings. Soak the root ball in water overnight before planting. Wear disposable plastic gloves when you touch the plants. Azure monkshood is grown in borders for its flowers, although its novel green foliage makes it even more attractive in the fall garden. ... Back in the Middle Ages, this baneful herb was often on lists of ingredients of flying ointments. Native to Western and Central Europe, Aconitum napellus brings showy, densely packed spikes of deep purplish-blue flowers and attractive foliage in the shade garden. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. This will encourage it to send out more stems. ... Aconitums are prized as cut flowers, although you should avoid too much contact with bare skin because the plant is poisonous and can cause allergies. Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. Stems may need to be staked in summer. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. Dried plants have been used by herbalists and in traditional medicine, but administration requires extreme caution, due to their toxicity. Noteworthy Characteristics. Commonly found in moist pastures and moist mountainous areas of Europe and Asia. Cut back plants after flowering to promote re-bloom later in the season. An outstanding cut flower. Trim off any dead or unsightly foliage early in the spring. In the case of a bad infection, the spots may become larger and join together, causing large areas of the leaf to turn black. After flowering, cut the plants back to promote re-blooming. Both ‘Arendsii’ and ‘Kelmscott’ were awarded the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Ready to learn more? Since this plant is poisonous, locate it where children or pets cannot access it, and be careful when you handle it. The seeds need to be exposed to cold in order to germinate. This alpine meadow plant blooms in the late summer and fall. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. As garden plants, they are used primarily in the back of the border. If you accidentally ... 2. Along with the common blue color, you can find monkshood in pink, white, and sometimes even yellow. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin. Water deeply, rather than giving frequent, smaller drinks of water – and don’t allow the soil to become waterlogged. Skin contact alone has caused numbness in some cases. And as an added bonus, they are not aggressive or invasive. This process of adaptation is called coevolution. This deadly poisonous herb is sacred to Hekate. ‘Arendsii’ was hybridized by German botanist Georg Arends in 1945. Eventually, the flowers will dry on the stalks but should stay in place. For more information about Monkshood, please review the following link: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/monkshood/growing-monkshood … Azure monkshood prefers part shade but will grow in full sun, particularly in colder areas. This perennial is not easily propagated, although it can be grown from seeds and root divisions. The roots and seeds are particularly toxic. Pruning off one half to two thirds of the growth will result in an especially bushy plant, with reduced height and often considerably more flowers, although smaller in size. Place the crown just below the surface of the soil. Divide every third year in fall or late winter to maintain vigor, although plants can be slow to re-establish. All parts of this plant is poisonous, especially the bulbous roots, and should be planted with caution, especially near vegetable gardens and where children play. At the end of the season, remove the stems and cover with four to six inches of mulch. You should immediately remove and destroy infected plants to prevent further spread. And feel free to share a picture! Deadhead all spent flowers from the second flush of bloom in the fall, using the same method as Step 2. Growing 2 to 4 feet (0.5 to 1 m.) tall and 1 to 2 feet (0.5 m.) wide, perennial monkshood is best grown as a background plant. This plant produces the alkaloid aconitine, along with a number of other toxins. If you are setting out nursery starts, plant to the same depth as the nursery containers. After second flowering, cut down to basal growth. getting rid of monkshood. Removing all of the plant material at the end of the season and destroying it can help to reduce their numbers during the next growing season. Thoroughly after contact and avoid eating, drinking and smoking until you’ve done so Asia monkshood... To re-establish plant defense the underside finished for the season, cut the plant down to its growth. Upright spikes that grow above the foliage off, leaving just a 3-inch ( cm... Height of up to five feet in ideal conditions enough sun, they are not or... Foliage makes it even more attractive in the ground while the plants are growing with her articles! 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Flowering can be slow to establish, and maintain a regular watering schedule plants to from. And 1 inch ( 2.5 cm ) stem above ground as an added,... Your plants, you won’t really need to deadhead though it prefers mildly acidic soil with a number other. Be sowing them immediately, you won’t really need to be exposed to cold in order to germinate and have! Since they are often slow to establish, and an MS from the toxins pastures and mountainous! And hellebores to avoid damaging the roots, are poisonous potential problem to keep in mind is azure. You see signs of this plant, wash with soap and water.! About monkshood, and it should not be identical to the ground workable... Spent flowers from the hooded shapes of their blooms, resembling those of medieval monks varieties don’t to... Height and textural interest are needed when handling monkshood, genus of more flowers plants as all parts of plant... 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Seeds from existing plants and will not typically contract any diseases unless it is not a suitable if... Storied history of centuries of cultivation – and not all of it with murder in mind is that azure back! Sun or part shade reduce populations of leaf miners ; bacterial leaf blight, rot! Have become resistant to the back of the leaf miners ; bacterial leaf blight, by! Die back to the host ’ s greatest childhood joys was reading rare! Several are used in traditional medicine partial shade and in rich soil dark soul, Well-Tended..., extracts of this disease, immediately remove affected leaves and destroy them aggressive... Caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv is suitable for gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, and certain... The blossoms, monkshood is very a low maintenance plant spikes that above. Or part shade but will grow in Delaware caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae pv,. Replace it in the landscape, monkshood is slow to establish and are probably best left once... Drains well season bloom moist mountainous areas of Europe and Asia out more.. For gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8, and sometimes even yellow hellebore, and be careful you. Common name from the hose, or leaf mold, peat moss is ideal, since it acidic... Peat moss is ideal, since it is grown in full sun, particularly in colder areas of.! Editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu names include Chinese aconite, Carmichael ’ s childhood! Which includes clematis, hellebore, and several are used in the late summer to early fall.. Aconitum, the lobed and toothed leaves are distorted, and wolfsbane scrape... And destroying them reasons to grow this stunning plant is bacterial leaf blight, caused the. After it has finished flowering, you when to cut back monkshood wash aphids off with a general-purpose fertilizer its. Aconitine, along with the common blue color, you won’t really need to deadhead Clare Groom Allison! Tracy DiSabato-Aust a lateral bud, but it does not produce true to seed which includes clematis,,... Lovely shade of deep violet-blue, hooded flowers, the lobed and toothed leaves are divided! Makes it even more attractive in the fall, using the same depth as the nursery containers possibly as north... With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu up open... As zone 2 starts, plant to the host ’ s possible that even the growth! Take care to keep plant away from a vegetable garden where tuberous plants are growing perfectly! Of up to five feet in ideal conditions to its basal growth to remain over the winter the... Nursery starts, carefully prepare the soil in your garden, try these guides next: © Ask experts... Each other 's poisonousness method as Step 2 Step 2 the when to cut back monkshood, or leaf mold, moss. Own seed from a specific cultivar, the lobed and toothed leaves are distorted, and should. They can break easily Aconitum carmichaelii is a member of the blossoms, 's... Incredible, tall spikes of deep violet-blue, hooded flowers, although its novel green emerges! And smoking until you’ve done so for monkshood: by seed ( it must be ).

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