Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Not Monkshood

Another of my gardening friends gave me “white monkshood” this spring. She has a surplus in her yard and yanked several for me. The plants were nearly rootless and, despite daily and twice-daily waterings, sprawled limply on the ground for the first two weeks after transplanting. They finally took hold and recently sent up flower spikes. As expected, the flowers are white, but they do not resemble monkshood.

Granted, I’ve only seen wild monkshood. From experience, I’ve learned that the garden version of a plant can look vastly different from the wild form (e.g. delphinium). However, I’m fairly sure that these are not aconitum. The flowers lack the distinctive hump that forms the “hood.” Additionally, this plant’s leaves are lance shaped, while monkshood leaves are deeply lobed.

My best guess is that the monkshood is actually a type of penstemon. Just for kicks, I plan on trying to roughly identify it with a plant taxonomy book. (However, the book is for native flora of the Pacific Northwest.) Does the flower look familiar to any readers?

**Update 8/7/05**

The verdict from my post on gardenweb is that this is obedient plant, and probably one of the less invasive varieties. I'll be moving it to the candy cane garden this fall. (It is too short and does not show up against the white house in its present location.)

7 Comments:

Blogger Zoey said...

Hi Kasmira,
It looks like Obedient plant to me.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Sabine said...

I have Obedient Plant and it doesn't look like that. My guess would be penstemon also.

7:43 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

It looks like Obedient plant to me also.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

The flower sure looks like Obedient plant, but I agree with Sabine that the leaves are different.

The obedient plant has leaves that are fairly wide, and sit on the stem differently.

I think you are correct in penstemon. Good luck figuring out which type it is, there are oodles of them!

12:14 PM  
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