Helleborus foetidus Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: Stinking hellebore, Bear's foot, Dungwort, Stinkwort [En], Hellébore fétide, Ellébore fétide, Pied-de-griffon [Fr], Stinkend nieskruid [Nl], Stinkende Nieswurz [De], Elleboro puzzolente [It], Hierba de ballesteros, Eléboro fétido [Es], Kokuşuk çöpleme [Tu]
Modave, LIEGE ● Belgium
Description: Herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall and 100 cm across, with a thick succulent stem and evergreen glossy leaves.
Despite its common name, it is not noticeably malodorous, although the foliage is pungent when crushed.
Biology : Flowering is in spring, usually on lime-rich soils. The drooping cup-shaped flowers are yellowish-green, often with a purple edge to the five petal-like sepals on strongly upright stems. The flowers, typically for the family, contain numerous stamens as well as up to ten nectaries which make them attractive to bees and other insects. Each flower produces up to five (usually three) wrinkled follicles.
Habitat: Woodland conditions with deep, fertile, moist, humus rich, well-drained soil, and dappled shade. The species is, however, drought tolerant. It often occurs naturally on chalk or limestone soils.
Caution: All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing glycosides. Symptoms of intoxication include violent vomiting and delirium.
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!
Wikipedia, Helleborus foetidus
North P., 1967. Poisonous Plants and Fungi in colour. Blandford Press & Pharmacological Society of Great Britain.