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Flower  Stinking Hellebore

Stinking Hellebore - Photo  Copyright 2000 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
Need help identifying plants and flowers. Checkout the ID charts in the Nature Shop - click here

Latin name: Helleborus foetidus

Size: Grows to around 60cm.

Distribution: Rare. Found in some parts of England and Wales.

Flowering months: February to April.

Habitat: Deciduous woodlands.

Special features: The stinking hellebore gets its name from the unpleasant odour it emits, which is more noticeable if you pinch the glossy, serrated leaves. The plant produces the odour to attract insects for pollination.

In the middle ages, this plant was used as a cure for worms. It is highly toxic, and although it was often successful at killing the worms, it frequently killed the patient too!

Its green, globe-shaped flowers have a purple rim, and they provide an early source of nectar for spring flying bumble bees.




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  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved