Herbs & Plants

Helleborus viridis

Botanical Name: Helleborus viridis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Helleborus
Species: H. viridis

Common Names: green hellebore,, Bastard hellebore, Bear’s foot and Boar’s foot.

Habitat: Helleborus viridis is native to Central and western Europe, including Britain. It grows in the woods, scrub and sunny banks on moist chalk and limestone soils.

Helleborus viridis is a perennial plant, growing to around 60 cm (2 ft) high, the green hellebore is a perennial plant. The flowers appear in spring (February to April). They have five large green oval sepals with pointed tips, and seven to twelve much smaller petals. The roots are rhizomatous. Subspecies viridis has flowers of 4–5 cm diameter and leaves covered with fine hairs, while the flowers of subspecies occidentalis are smaller (3–4 cm diameter) and its leaves are smooth.
. It is in flower from February to April, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies.


Cultivation of this plant is not always easy, it prefers a rich limy soil in partial shade. One report says that the plant requires an alkaline soil. Succeeds in any good garden soil. preferring a moist well-drained rich loam in a sheltered position in partial shade. Succeeds when grown in the shade of a north-facing wall. Does not object to lime. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes drought. Slugs are very fond of this plant and it will probably require some protection from them. The various species in this genus hybridize freely. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions whilst still small. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legume.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible, it usually germinates in the autumn to spring. Seed can take 18 months to germinate. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This species produces flowering plants in 2 – 3 years from seed[200]. Division after flowering or in autumn. Take care since the plant resents disturbance.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is anthelmintic, cardiac, cathartic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, irritant, violently narcotic and a drastic purgative. The dried root is used, it contains the alkaloids nervine, pseudo-nervine and veratridine. It is best to harvest the root in the autumn. The plant is useful for reducing blood pressure in various conditions of hypertension.

Other Uses:
A decoction of the roots is used as a parasiticide against body lice, fleas etc. This use is somewhat dangerous, see the notes above on toxicity. Plants are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous, this poison can possibly be absorbed through the skin.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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