Green false hellebore

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 Veratrum viride subsp. var.  Green false hellebore
Green false hellebore
Habit: [[Category:]]
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 3 ft to 5 ft
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Lifespan: perennial
Poisonous: highly toxic, fatal
Bloom: mid summer, late summer
Exposure: part-sun
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Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 3 to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: yellow
Melanthiaceae > Veratrum viride var. ,

Green false hellebore (American white hellebore, Bear Corn, Big Hellebore, Devil's Bite, Duck Retten, Indian Poke, Itch-weed, Itchweed, Poor Annie, and Tickleweed; Veratrum viride) is a perennial plant that grows from small leek-like shoots in the spring to a medium-sized plant with spectacular leaves. It is known for being extremely toxic, and for this reason is considered a pest plant by farmers with livestock.

The adult plant can reach 3 to 5 feet, with even extra length when a floral stem is present. It has a solid white stem with large, broad alternate leaves ending in a short point, heavily ribbed and hairy on the underside. It grows numerous 2 cm lime-green to citrus-yellow flowers in a large inflorescence. Rarely goes into flowers.


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soilpf.

Requires a deep fertile moisture retentive humus-rich soilRH. Succeeds in full sun if the soil does not dry out but prefers a position in semi-shadeRH. Dislikes dry soils, preferring to grow in a bog garden42. Grows best in a cool woodland garden or a north facing border42. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer233. Plants are long-lived and can be left in the same position for years without attention233.


The plant multiplies through its rhizome and seeds.

Unless stored in damp sand at around 4°c the seed has a short viabilityRH. Where possible it is best to sow the seed in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse as soon as it is ripeRH. Stored seed needs to be stratified but can be very slow to germinate. Germination can be erratic even for seed sown when it was fresh, it usually takes place within 3 - 12 months at 15°c but can be much longerRH. The plant produces just one seedleaf in its first year, this forms an over-wintering bulb. It takes up to 10 years for the plant to reach maturityRH. Sow the seed thinly so there is no need to thin or transplant them, and grow the seedlings on undisturbed in the pot for their first two years of growth. Apply a liquid feed at intervals through the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. At the end of the second year plant out the dormant plants into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year or two before planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March/April or in October. Establish the plants in pots in a shaded frame before planting them outRH. Division is best carried out in the autumn because the plants come into growth very early in the spring233. Root cuttings, 6mm long with a bud, rooted in a sandy soil in a cold frameRH.

Pests and diseases

Veratrum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.



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