Stinking Hellebore - Helleborus foetidus


Medium to tall often rather robust plant. Foetid, with leafy overwintering stems. Leaves palmate, deep green, lobes simple, toothed. Uppermost leaves and bracts unlobed. Flowers nodding, yellowish green with a purple rim, bell shaped, 10 to 30 mm in large clusters.

Identification difficulty

Shady banks and wooded areas usually close to habitation.

When to see it

Flowering January to May.

Life History

Perennial. Usually found as an escape or introduction, but at times becoming naturalised in suitable areas.

UK Status

Mainly found as a casual or as an introduced plant close to habitation. Naturalised colonies are uncommon.

VC55 Status

Rarely recorded as a naturalised plant in Leicestershire and Rutland.  It is usually found near to habitation. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 2 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as Alien; neophyte; rare. 

(Note: it is listed as subspecies occidentalis, but this is not listed in Stace 3rd or 4th editions, and it may be an error)

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map