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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.
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.
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).
Follicles, 3 (-5), 10-20 mm long, smooth to sparsely hairy, seeds about 3.5 mm long, longitudinally winged, with many transverse, membranous baffles.
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