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Uses

Toxic parts

All parts of the plant are poisonous[1][2][3], this poison can possibly be absorbed through the skin[4].

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Helleborus foetidus.

Material uses

A decoction of the roots is used as a parasiticide against body lice, fleas etc[4][5]. This use is somewhat dangerous, see the notes above on toxicity.
There are no material uses listed for Helleborus foetidus.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

A very toxic plant that is considered to be useful for reducing blood pressure in various conditions of hypertension[5]. Tthe root contains the alkaloids nervine, pseudo-nervine and veratridine[5]. It is best to harvest the root in the autumn and dry it for later use[5].

This species has similar medicinal properties to the black hellebore, H. niger[6]. These properties are:-

Black hellebore is a very poisonous plant that is toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses. As such it should not be taken except under professional supervision. The plant contains cardiac glycosides which have a similar action to the foxglove (Digitalis spp) and it has been used as a heart stimulant for the elderly, though this treatment is no longer recommended[7]. The root is anthelmintic, cardiac, cathartic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, irritant, violently narcotic and a drastic purgative[6][1][8][9][10]. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[6]. It has been used in the treatment of dropsy, amenorrhoea, nervous disorders and hysteria, but it is very poisonous and great care must be taken over the dosage[6]. The root is also applied externally as a local irritant[6], but even this should be done with care, see notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots[1]. It is used in the treatment of headaches, psychic disorders, enteritis and spasms[1].
There are no medicinal uses listed for Helleborus foetidus.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[11][12]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible[11], 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[13]. It is not possible to divide this species, but it is possible to take basal cuttings of young vegetative shoots[13]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Helleborus foetidus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in any good garden soil[11], preferring a moist well-drained rich loam in a sheltered position in partial shade[11][6][14][15]. Plants are suitable for naturalizing in a woodland garden[13] and also succeed in the shade of a north-facing wall[16]. They do not object to lime[11]. Grow well in heavy clay soils[13]. Dislikes drought.

The stems live for one or two years, dying after flowering[13]. Slugs are very fond of this plant and it will probably require some protection from them[17]. The various species in this genus hybridize freely[18]. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value[13]. The whole plant, especially when bruised, gives off an unpleasant smell that is similar to decaying meat[19]. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions whilst still small[13].

A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[20].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Helleborus foetidus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Helleborus foetidus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Helleborus foetidus
Genus
Helleborus
Family
Ranunculaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
Shade
partial shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:2007-04-06Helleborus foetidus21Habitus.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.4 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    2. ? Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
    3. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.5 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.6 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.4 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    12. ? Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. (1988-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.413.513.613.7 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland. ()
    15. ? Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge (1926-00-00)
    16. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    17. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    18. ? Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
    19. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    20. ? Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
    21. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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