E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Aconitum columbianum Nutt.
Columbia Monkshood (Columbian monkshood)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Daniel Stewart  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #71453)

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Distribution of Aconitum columbianum
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SUBTAXA PRESENT IN BC
Aconitum columbianum ssp. columbianum

Species Information

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General:
Perennial herb from a tuberous root; stems erect, stout, hollow, 20-200 cm tall, smooth to slightly crisp-hairy below, spreading-hairy above and glandular, particularly in inflorescence.
Leaves:
Mostly stem leaves, alternate, long-stalked below, unstalked above, deeply palmately 3- to 5- (7-) lobed, 5-15 cm wide, the segment margins variously cleft and toothed.
Flowers:
Inflorescence a terminal, open raceme, the flowers bilaterally symmetric, usually blue, sometimes white or cream-coloured or blue-tinged at sepal margins, 18-50 mm long from tips of lower sepals to top of hood; flower stalks slender, ascending; petals 2, distinct, concealed in hood, long-clawed, spurred at apex; sepals 5, petal-like, usually hairy and often somewhat glandular, the lower 2 lance-shaped, flat, 6-16 mm long, the lateral 2 round kidney-shaped, the upper sepal (the hood) sac-like, arched, conic-hemispheric to crescent-shaped, beaked, 11-34 mm long from receptacle to top of hood, 6-26 mm wide from receptacle to beak tip; pistils 3 (-5).
Fruits:
Follicles, 3 (-5), 10-20 mm long, smooth to sparsely hairy, seeds about 3.5 mm long, longitudinally winged, with many transverse, membranous baffles.
Notes:
Most species of Aconitum are highly toxic, causing death in livestock and humans. However, A. columbianum does not seem to be that toxic (Whittemore and Parfitt 1997).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blue
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows, streambanks, thickets and forests in the montane and subalpine zones; common in SC and SE BC; S to NY, MI, WI, WY, NV, CA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecology

Ecological Framework for Aconitum columbianum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class

Minimum

Average

Maximum

Elevation (metres) 638 1307 2090
Slope Gradient (%) 0 11 56
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 236 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 5 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Class
D
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
110
Modal BEC Zone Class
ESSF
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(2), BWBS(4), ESSF(34), ICH(28), IDF(13), IMA(1), MS(16), SBS(2)

Climate

The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References