Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore/Indian Hellebore - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore/Indian Hellebore - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore/Indian Hellebore - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore/Indian Hellebore - Photos Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image 
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Green Flowers ( Lily-like Leaves )
Lily Family (Liliaceae)

Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore/Indian Hellebore
Veratrum viride

Season: June to September
Habitat:
 Montane to Subalpine Moist Areas
Height:
 Up to 2 m

Description: This very tall lily, can be distinguished by its enormous lily-like leaves, and massive spiked flower head. The overlapping, smooth-margined, oval leaves, taper to a point, and clasp the stem. The prominent veins run parallel to the margin. A single leafless stem rises and supports a large number of tiny flowers in dangling clusters along short side branches. The star-shaped, greenish flowers, like most lilies, have six parts, and are just under 1 cm in length. The plants are quite poisonous.

Flower: The flowers occur in a branched terminal cluster. Several of the stems droop under the weight of the flowers. The individual star-shaped flowers have 6 petals (tepals) and are pale green to yellowish green.

Leaf: The leaves make this plant instantly identifiable, flowers or not. This is helpful because the leaves occur much earlier than the flowers. There are many alternate, clasping leaves that are enormours, usually 10-20 cm long. Each leave is egg-shaped to eliptical, with smooth margins and distinctive paralel ribs along the length.While the upper surface is smooth, the lower surface is hairy.

Fruit/Seed: The seeds are contained within numerous barrel-shaped capsules, 2-2.5 cm long.

Similar Species: 

Range: This high elevation plant is found through the Rockies, running from Alaska to Montana and Idaho. It also can be found throughout all but Northeastern British Colubia.

The roots, rhizome and young shoots are quite poisonous, containing steroidal alkaloids poisons. Humans and cattle have been poisoned by green false hellebore and extracts from the plant have been used in hypertension treatments and insecticides. Coastal Bella Coola indians used the plant for numerous medicinal purposes. Decoctions of green false hellebore were used to treat bruises, stomach pains, chronic cough and constipation. A poultice made from the bulbs were used to treat rheumatism and heart problems.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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