Aconitum chasmanthum Stapf ex Holmes, Mus. Report, Pharm. Soc. Great Britain 1903
syn: Aconitum napellus Hook.f. & Thoms. (non L.) ; Aconitum chasmanthum subsp. baltistanicum Qureshi & Chaudhri
Aconitum kurramense Qureshi & Chaudhri; Aconitum violaceum var. robustum Stapf
Common names: Indian Napellus, Ban-bal-nag, Beshmolo, Mori
Tall leafy plant, up to 90 cm with ruberous root; leaves similar, though upper slightly smaller, 3-8 cm broad, cut alomost up to base into linear segments; flowers blue or purplish, in up to 30 cm long racemes; upper sepal curved back helmet-shaped, lateral oborbicular to nearly square; petals (nectaries) 2-5 with 5-7 mm long claw; carpels usually 5, follicles oblong, 10-15 mm, truncate.
Often confused with A. napellus, this species is distributed from Chitral to Kashmir at higher altitudes.The whole plant is highly toxic - simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people. The dried root is analgesic, anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic, irritant and sedative. The root is a rich source of active alkaloids, containing around 3%. It is best harvested as soon as the plant dies down in the autumn. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Photographed from Apharwat, Kashmir in August, growing along forest margins. It has also been introduced into newly developed alpine garden near Kongdor, middle stop of Gondola above Gulmarg.
Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Retired Associate Professor
SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007
Res: 932 Anand Kunj, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018.
Phone: 011-25518297 Mob: 9810359089http://people.du.ac.in/~singhg45/