- Wolfsbane serves as one of the common names given to a genus of more than 250 different plants.
- Also, almost every known variety of Wolfsbane ranks as extremely poisonous.
- It remains most commonly seen in mountainous regions. This genus also most typically grows in soil that stays rather highly retentive of moisture but well drained.
- Also, all known varieties of this herbaceous genus are perennials.
- In many remote parts of the world, indigenous peoples still make use of it for hunting or warfare.
- The IUCN currently lists several members of this rather remarkable genus as Critically Endangered.
Wolfsbane Physical Characteristics
The various forms of Wolfsbane understandably attain different heights. Yet all remain small to medium-sized plants with similar characteristics.
The foliage typically displays a dark green in color. Its leaves develop palmate in nature and usually composed of 5-7 segments. The stems of the species also grow tall and erect. The flowers may be either white, purple, pink or yellow in color.
The fruit usually grows small in size. All parts of the members of this genus evolved as highly poisonous. Even brushing against it with bare skin is dangerous, as the toxin is readily absorbed into the skin.
If ingested, even a small quantity is typically fatal within six hours if left untreated.
Wolfsbane Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
All recognized varieties of Wolfsbane in this genus remain native to the Northern Hemisphere. However, many varieties have also been spread to other regions by human actions.
High mountain meadows serve as the specific habitat where this plant most commonly grows naturally. In such regions, the soil remains moisture retentive, yet still well-drained.
Despite its toxicity, several types of Wolfsbane serve as a food source for the caterpillar form of several Lepidoptera native to local regions.
With proper preparation, many of the various species can also be used for medicinal purposes, due to the specific compounds found within them.