Halloween is always fun for me. I like nothing more than research bizarre and unique facts about the holiday and its origins. Today let us take a peek at a plant that is very often synonymous with Werewolves and Halloween, Aconitum.
Wolfsbane, aconitum’s common name, has been ascribed with supernatural powers in the mythology relating to werewolves and other lycanthropes, either to repel them, relating to aconite’s use in poisoning wolves and other animals, or in some way induce their lycanthropic condition, as aconite was often an important ingredient in witches’ magic ointments. In folklore, aconite was also said to make a person into a werewolf if it is worn, smelled, or eaten. They are also said to kill werewolves if they wear, smell, or eat aconite.
Northern wolfsbane grows quickly in the spring using the nutrition stored in its thick, tuberous rootstock, and its leaves are already fully formed when other plants are just beginning to put theirs out. The plant grows year after year for up to a decade, each year with slightly bigger leaves, until eventually it is large enough to flower. The flowering stem can reach a height of 2 metres (80 in.) and the flowers are impressive. It is no wonder that in ancient mythology the old Finnish Pagan god Ukko Ylijumala took the plant’s highest, helmet-like petal for his cap.
The plant itself is highly toxic and many cultures have used it as poison on weapons and arrows. So consider yourself informed..BOO!