Aconitum heterophyllum

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                           Aconitum heterophyllum Wall. ex Royle, ; Ill. B. Him. t. 13 (1833); 56 (1834). 
Flowers of Aconitum heterophyllum

Nomenclature and Taxonomy

Aconitum heterophyllum belongs to family Ranunculaceae. It is commonly known as Aconite while it is locally named as Atis (Standard Nepali) in Nepal. It is given with synonyms Aconitum atees Royle; A. cordatum Royle; A. ovatum Lindl. [1] It is recognized with two varieties viz., Aconitum heterophyllum var. heterophyllum and Aconitum heterophyllum var. bracteatum. [2]

Plant Description

A whole plant of Aconitum heterophyllum

Aconitum heterophyllum is biennial herb with 2 tubers. Stem is (l5-)25-70(-90) cm high, simple or with a few branches in the lower part, glabrous with a few very short crispate hairs above. Lower most leaves are with long petioles, orbicular-cordate to ovate-cordate in outline, usually deeply 5-lobed with crenate lobes, but the others are with short petioles or sessile, semi-amplexicaul, irregularly crenate-dentate, rarely lobate. Inflorescence is a loose raceme, rarely subpaniculate. Lower bracts are similar to upper leaves, the others ovate to lanceolate, crenate or entire. In the longer peduncles the bracteoles are elliptical or usually entire. Sepals are blue to violet, glabrous. Lateral sepals are obliquely obovate with dark tips, 14-20 x 12-20 mm, not stipitate, lower ones narrower. Petals are (nectaries) with a long (16-18 mm) claw and short (4 mm) very wide hood, lobed or entire. Filaments are winged above the middle, 6-8 mm long. It has carpels 5, oblong-elliptical, pubescent, abruptly contracted to the style of about equal length. Follicles are straight, 16-18 mm, glabrescent or glabrous. Seeds are obpyramidate, 3-4 mm long with almost winged angles. [3]

Ecology and Distribution

Aconitum heterophyllum is distributed North Eastern India, Nepal, and Pakistan. In Nepal, it is found in central Nepal at 3200-3700 m in moist, open places. [4]

Phenology and Reproduction

Aconitum heterophyllum flowers in July-August and fruits in September-October. It propagates by seeds. [4]

Economic Value

Aconitum heterophyllum is medicinally important; it is also poisonous. Roots are medicinal as well as poisonous to livestocks and human. [4]

Phytochemistry and Pharmacology

Aconitum heterophyllum is used to cure Diarrhea, dysentery, cough, dyspepsia, chronic enteritis and is as a febrifuge and bitter tonic in combating debility after malaria. [5] Roots of Aconitum heterophyllum are used as tonic. [4]

Diseases and Pathogens

References

  1. Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal. (2015). Aconitum heterophyllum Wall. ex Royle, ; Ill. B. Him. t. 13 (1833); 56 (1834). Retrieved from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=110&taxon_id=242420118 on April 13, 2015.
  2. Flora of Pakistan. (2015). Aconitum heterophyllum Wall.ex Royle, Illustr. Bot. Himal. Mount. 56.t.13. 1833. Retrieved from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242420118# on April 13, 2015.
  3. Flora of Pakistan. (2015). Aconitum heterophyllum Wall.ex Royle, Illustr. Bot. Himal. Mount. 56.t.13. 1833. Retrieved from http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242420118# on April 13, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Manandhar, N. P. (2002). Plants and People of Nepal. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA. p. 70
  5. Gajalakshmi, S., Jeyanthi, P., Vijayalakshmi, S. & Devi Rajeshwari, V. (2011). PHYTOCHEMICAL CONSTITUENT OF ACONITUM SPECIES-A REVIEW. International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology, 2(4), 121-127.