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Stinkwort Helleborus foetidus

Phonetic Spelling
hel-eh-BORE-us FOY-tih-dus
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Helleborus foetidus is an interesting plant to grow in a shady garden. It blooms in late winter to early spring, with unusual yellow-green pendant, cup-shaped blossoms with a maroon rim that are surrounded by pale green bracts. Although 'foetidus' means fetid, or smelly, the plant as a whole is not unpleasant smelling. The leaves, when crushed or bruised, give off a smell that many describe as unpleasant or strange.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Flowers nodding, petaloid sepals
  • Short plant with stiff, large, evergreen leaves 
  • Leaves are palmately divided into many leaflets
  • Flower center of numerous stamens outlined by tubular nectaries, or fleshy , beaked capsules

Blooms in late winter to very early spring; utilized for borders or patios in protected, shady spots; poisonous leaves and roots- Greek 'helein'= to injure and 'bora'= food; excellent for long, winter blooming display. 

Prefers partial to full shade; prefers organic-enriched soil; intolerant of bright winter sun and high temperatures; Fungal diseases are the main problem.

More information on Helleborus.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Shaded Slope Wild Side- A Shady Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#perennial#light shade#yellow-green#deep shade#shade tolerant#green flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#low maintenance#winter interest#cpp#spreading#long-lasting flowers#deer resistant#cream flowers#naturalizes#self-seeding#clumping#fantz#early spring flowers#malodorus#HS302#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#perennial#light shade#yellow-green#deep shade#shade tolerant#green flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#low maintenance#winter interest#cpp#spreading#long-lasting flowers#deer resistant#cream flowers#naturalizes#self-seeding#clumping#fantz#early spring flowers#malodorus#HS302#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helleborus
    Species:
    foetidus
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    mountainous regions of Europe, Greece and Asia Minor
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    Clustered, green, fleshy capsules, long-beaked, surrounded by persistent sepals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Many flowers, 5-parted, drooping, green flushed with purple at apex. A stalked cyme or panicle, terminal, bracteated, often nodding; bracts gigantic, leaf-like, dark green, entire to sparsely toothed, +/- lobed. 1-many, usually greenish, tinted gold or brown, pink or purple, cup or bowl-shaped, nodding, 3-4" dia; sepals 5, showy, pigmented, broadly ovate-elliptic; inner petal segments numerous, consisting of tubular nectaries, green to greenish-yellow, ephemeral; stamens numerous, anther yellow. Blooms from February to April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, palmately divided with 7-10 leaflets. Gives off an unpleasant smell when crushed. Basal or cauline, palmately compound, coriaceous, glabrous; petiloes elongate, peltate; leaflets 3-9, irregularly toothed or serrate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stout, rhizomatous or exposed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Possibly causing burning of mouth and throat, salivation, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nervous symptoms, depression.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Protoanemonin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems