SX8953 : Aconite, Monkshood or Wolfsbane ( Aconitum napellus), and Black Bryony near Hillhead South Devon

taken 8 years ago, near to Hillhead, Devon, Great Britain

Aconite, Monkshood or Wolfsbane ( Aconitum napellus), and Black Bryony near Hillhead South Devon
Aconite, Monkshood or Wolfsbane ( Aconitum napellus), and Black Bryony near Hillhead South Devon
This impressive blue flower in the hedgerow caught my attention. I thought it had escaped from a local garden, but there aren't any gardens within hundreds of metres, just fields. It took me a while to identify this as the deadly poisonous Aconite, commonly known as Wolfsbane or Monkshood. The latter name comes from the shape of the flowers, probably, which are beautiful. The name aconite comes from the Greek word meaning a dart or an arrow head as these were dipped into a preparation from these plants. Just handling them can land you in hospital.

The intertwined old man's beard provides a fine partner in the natural "flower arrangement".

I am grateful to another "Geographer" - Ceridwen - who has advised me "you have captured the red berries of another poisonous plant, Black Bryony (Tamus communis)in the centre" of the image. These red berries have been known to cause fatalities.

On 10th February 2010, in a murder trial at the Old Bailey, Mr Lakhvinder Cheema was found to have been murdered by his spurned mistress, who added Indian Aconite to his and his fiancee's food. Although rapid medical treatment was sought, his life could not be saved. His fiancee survived as she had eaten less of the poisoned food, but this required a medically induced coma to be used to enable the heart rhythm to be stabilised.

In 2014, an inquest heard that a gardener, Nathan Greenway, died of multiple organ failure after brushing past the flowers of aconitum. LinkExternal link
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SX8953, 16 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 14 October, 2009   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 14 October, 2009
Category
Vegetation > Poisonous plant   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SX 895 535 [100m precision]
WGS84: 50:22.2599N 3:33.2773W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SX 895 534
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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