ACIDANTHERA

HALF HARDY.

P. A. murielae is about the only species cultivated in Britain and is a most beautiful though somewhat exacting plant, worth every care. It resembles the gladiolus in habit, growing to about 3 ft., but takes longer to develop and may not flower till late September. Early planting is inadvisable as growth does not begin until the soil is really warmed up. The first half of April is probably the best time, the corms being planted 3 in. deep and 6 in. apart. The pure white flowers are hooded with a deep purple blotch in the centre. They are very fragrant and excellent for cutting.

The corms can be left in the ground if protected with bracken etc. during hard frosts, but it is safer to lift them as soon as the foliage has died down.

ACONITUM, MONKSHOOD or WOLF’S BANE P. Handsome border perennials, some with tuberous roots, which tolerate moderate shade. The spikes somewhat resemble those of the delphinium. They prefer soil which does not dry out too readily but are by no means difficult and are usually perfectly hardy.

Aconitums contain a poisonous narcotic. When dividing the roots great care must always be taken not to leave any pieces lying in the soil, as they have been mistaken for horseradish and other edible roots with fatal results. They should not be grown within reach of cattle. Aconitums have, however, certain medicinal uses, e.g. for stomach disorders, fevers and nervous troubles.

Most species flower in late summer and early autumn. Recommended varieties include: Aconitum napellus Brcssingham Spire which bears blue flowers and has a good branching habit, growing to about 5 ft; A. napellus Spark’s variety, which is violet-blue and about the same height; A. Carmichaelii (Fischeri), which is pale blue (3 ft. tall) and rather earlier than the foregoing. There are also yellow and white kinds. Aconitums resent disturbance. They are increased by division in spring.

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