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Helleborus foetidus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Helleborus
Species: H. foetidus
Binomial name
Helleborus foetidus

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.



It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall and 100 cm across, with a thick succulent stem and evergreen glossy leaves. 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. Foliage is pungent when crushed.[1]

All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing glycosides. Symptoms of intoxication include violent vomiting and delirium.[1]



It is grown in gardens for its handsome evergreen foliage and large numbers of green, bell-shaped flowers borne in late winter.

The cultivar 'Green Giant' has very bright green flowers and finely 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.

Helleborus foetidus prefers 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.

Propagation is by division or from seed, which can be prolific, naturalising well in ideal conditions.


  1. ^ a b North, Pamela (1967). Poisonous Plants and Fungi in colour. Blandford Press & Pharmacological Society of Great Britain.  
  • Flora, The Gardener's Bible, ABC books, Ultimo, NSW, Australia, 2006
  • Bryant & Rodd et al., The Ultimate Plant Book, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Vic, Australia, 2005

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Helleborus foetidus


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Unassigned Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales
Familia: Ranunculaceae
Subfamilia: Ranunculoideae
Tribus: Helleboreae
Genus: Helleborus
Sectio: H. sect. Griphopus
Species: Helleborus foetidus


Helleborus foetidus L., Sp. Pl. 1: 558. 1753.


  • Helleboraster foetidus (L.) Moench, Meth. : 236. 1794.
  • Helleborus beugesiacus Jord. & Fourr., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 16 : 325. 1868.
  • Helleborus deflexifolius Jord. & Fourr., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, sér. 2, 16 : 325. 1868.
  • Helleborus foetidus var. balearicus L.Chodat
  • Helleborus foetidus subsp. balearicus (L.Chodat) Romo, Fl. Silvestres Baleares: 100. 1994.
  • Helleborus nemoralis Jord. & Fourr., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon sér. 2, 16: 325. 1868, nom. nud.
  • Helleborus rhodanicus Jord. & Fourr., Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon sér. 2, 16: 325. 1868, nom. nud.



  • Flore Electronique (2000-2009). Association Tela Botanica. Institut de Botanique, Montpellier. 2009 Nov 10 [1].
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [2]

Vernacular name

Svenska: Klockjulros
Türkçe: Kokuşuk çöpleme
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Helleborus foetidus on Wikimedia Commons.


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