David Trevan's picture

Fresh green!

Observed: 12th February 2012 By: David Trevan
Isle of Wight Natural History & Archaeological Soc
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Description:

In spite of the recent freezing weather, this stand of Helleborus foetidus in my garden remains fresh green and a delight to the eye!H. foetidus is an established alien species on the IOW, especially on the Undercliff. In the Ranunculaceae family.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

martinjohnbishop's picture

Dangerous for livestock

"In Ox Meadow near Fulbourn. JM.ann.Meth.65.
...The country people frequently give the powder of this plant to their children for the worms. But how dangerous a midicine it is, may be understood by the following accident. Some years ago, when the ground was covered with a very deep snow; a flock of sheep in Ox-Meadow near Fulborn in Cambridgeshire, finding nothing but this herb above the snow, eat plentifully of it. They soon appeared terribly out of order, and most of them died; a few being saved by timely giving them some oil; which made them cast up this herb. Some of those which died, being opened, were found to have their stomachs greatly inflamed. This account I had from the man who attended them. He went with me to the very spot, and as he pointed out the herb which poisoned them, I found it to be this species of Hellebore. Martyn,1732,2:7-8."

David Trevan's picture

Helleborus foetidus

Thanks for the information Martin. The Isle of Wight Flora(Pope, Snow and Allen) states that Bromfield (author of Flora Vectensis)said that it was grown in cottage gardens 'as a rather violent remedy for worms'.

David J Trevan