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.
Description[edit | edit source]
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall and 100 cm across, with evergreen leaves. The flowers are yellowish-green, often with a purple edge to the five petal-like sepals on strongly upright stems. Foliage is pungent when crushed.
Growing Conditions[edit | edit source]
Helleborus foetidus prefers woodland conditions with deep, fertile, moist, humus rich, well drained soil, and dappled shade. The species is, however, drought tolerant.
Varieties[edit | edit source]
The cultivar Green Giant has very bright green flowers and finley divided foliage; Miss Jekyll has fragrant flowers, intensity varying with the time of day; Wester Flisk Group has red tinted leaves and stems and gray-green flowers; the Sierra Nevada Group is dwarf reaching 30 cm.
Uses[edit | edit source]
It is grown in gardens for its handsome evergreen foliage and large numbers green, bell shaped flowers borne in late winter. Because of its toxicity, it is often grown where Deer are a problem.
Maintenance[edit | edit source]
This plant tends to be somewhat short-lived in the garden, but replaces itself well with copious seedlings. Deadhead to prevent reseeding, and remove the plant if it has blackened leaves or stems.
Propagation[edit | edit source]
Propagations is via division or from seed, which can be prolific, naturalising well in ideal conditions.
Pests and Diseases[edit | edit source]
(see Helleborus for a discussion of pests and diseases).
References[edit | edit source]
|Wikiversity is collecting bloom time data for Helleborus foetidus on the Bloom Clock|
- FAMILY_XREF=&GENUS_XREF=Helleborus&SPECIES_XREF=foetidus&TAXON_NAME_XREF=&RANK= Flora Europaea: Helleborus foetidus
- Flora, The Gardener's Bible, ABC books, Ultimo, NSW, Australia, 2006
- Th Ultimate Plant Book, Bryant & Rodd et al, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic, Australia, 2005