Monday, August 12, 2013

Larkspur-leaf Monkshood at East Fork Chulitna Wayside



On our most recent outing we stopped at the East Fork Chulitna Wayside, at mile 185 of the Parks Highway. I saw a lovely little patch of Larkspurl-leaf monskhood (Aconitum delphiniifolium) there. As the name implies, the leaves are very similar to larkspur (delphinium) leaves.


All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. The Alkaloid toxin in monkshood, called aconitine,can also be absorbed through the skin. However, the Cooperative Extension Service here in Fairbanks says casual contact is probably not hazardous unless the plant's sap gets into an open wound. Because of its beautiful bloom, monkshood is sometimes used in floral arrangements, and florists who handle the plant a lot have reported health problems. Seems to me it would be best to wear gloves around this plant.

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