Hello! Another edition of the poisons collection today. If you are in the potion making business this plant is a necessity. I’ve mentioned it in my post: Harry Potter and The Kingdom of Plants. It is of course Wolfs Bane.
“What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?” – Professor Snape
Wolfs Bane is the common name for the plant Aconitum lycoctonum from the Ranunculaceae family. The same family as that of the buttercup (Robertson, 2014).
Aconitum has quite an intriguing past. Its highly poisonous nature means that it has been used as a poison placed on arrow heads for a long time. That’s part of how it gained its name of Wolfs Bane (Botanical.com, 2014).
The toxins in it are aconite and aconitine. Aconitine is the key toxin that even in small doses can cause a fatal slow heartbeat. It also causes gastrointestinal issues (Robertson, 2014).
So what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane? Well they’re different species but both from the genus of Aconitum. Wolfs Bane typically refers to Aconitum lycoctonum but Monkshood refers to Aconitum napellus. Either way in the world of Harry Potter they create very different potions!
Til Next Time!
botanical.com. (2014). A Modern Herbal. Available: http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/aconi007.html. Last accessed 4/12/2015.
Robertson, J.. (2014). Aconitum lycoctonum, wolfsbane. Available: http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/aconitum_lycoctonum.htm. Last accessed 02/12/2015.