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Stinking Hellebore

Stinking Hellebore

Helleborus foetidus, known variously as stinking hellebore, dungwort, or bear's foot, is a member of the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to western Europe, from England south to Portugal, and east to Germany and Italy. It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall and 100 cm across, with a thick succulent stem and evergreen glossy leaves. Flowering is in spring, usually on lime-rich soils. The drooping cup-shaped flowers are yellowish-green, often with a purple edge to the five petal-like sepals on strongly upright stems. The flowers, typically for the family, contain numerous stamens as well as up to ten nectaries which make them attractive to bees and other insects. Each flower produces up to five (usually three) wrinkled follicles. Foliage is pungent when crushed. All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing glycosides. Symptoms of intoxication include violent vomiting and delirium.

 

Photograph and text courtesy of Wikipedia.