Name: Monkshood (Aconitum napellus and Aconitum vulparia)
Also Known As: Wolfsbane, Devil’s Helmet, Blue Rocket, Leopard’s Bane
Found in: Native to western and central Europe, Monkshood grows in woodlands and meadows. It prefers rich, well-drained soils with lots of sun.
This powerful toxin disrupts nerve-to-muscle signals, killing a person by heart attack. At first, a victim will suffer from stomach pains and numbness of the tongue and mouth. Larger amounts will cause paralysis and convulsions. If the toxin gets into even a tiny cut, it could mean trouble.
Poison Plus: Greek herders used one species of Aconitum to protect their livestock, which is how the plant earned its nickname, wolfsbane (meaning “that which causes death to the wolves”). Herders rubbed the plant’s roots and stems onto their arrows and shot at wolves that threatened the herd. The poison quickly killed the attacking wolves.
Learn more in The Power of Poison.