CORSICAN HELLEBORE

Helleborus argutifolius

[Previously known as: Helleborus Corsicus]

Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae]  

month8jan month8feb month8mar month8march

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8green
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

30th April 2007, Glossop, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flowers pale green; leaves green and in threes, with pronounced forward-pointing teeth.


30th April 2007, Glossop, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have five over-lapping petal-like sepals coloured a pale green, within which are five pale-green inwardly-curved banana-shaped nectarines which previously were part of the five stamens.


10th feb 2008, Greenfield, Greater M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The flowers tend to droop slightly downwards towards the earth.


30th April 2007, Glossop, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The five banana-shaped fruiting nectarines are well developed.


30th April 2007, Glossop, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are contained within the nectarines.


10th feb 2008, Greenfield, Greater M/cr. Photo: © RWD


30th April 2007, Glossop, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are in triplets and have sharply pointed curved forward-pointing teeth. Also shown is the rear of the flower.


10th feb 2008, Greenfield, Greater M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The teeth on the shiny green leaves are quite distinctive more akin to spines.


Slight resemblance to : other Hellebores such as Stinking Hellebore, but stinking Hellebore has three seed pods rather than the four of Corsican Hellebore.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : Apart from the flower being distinctive of Hellebores, the leaves identify it as Corsican Hellebore.

No relation to : the Helleborines [which are members of the Orchid Family [Orchidaceae] and have a similar-sounding name].

In the UK, Corsican Hellebore is officially classed as a neophyte, a plant that was introduced to Britain after AD 1500. In the UK, it is more likely to be found in a garden than growing wild, although it does indeed grow wild. Greater London seems to be particular hot-spot, but other locations are in evidence. It seems to have disappeared from the Isle of Man before 2000 AD.

All Hellebores are poisonous, but some much more poisonous than others. Black Hellebore is the most toxic, but Corsican Hellebore is much less so, but nevertheless should not be consumed; it is toxic if large quantities are consumed. Care must be taken in handling it for the sap is caustic, creating wounds that weep.

PROTOANEMONIN & PRE-CURSOR


Like most members of the Buttercup Family to which it belongs, Corsican Hellebore contains Ranunculin which is the glucosidic pre-cursor to protoanemonin. Upon hydrolysis when outside the cell, Ranunculin is converted to Protoanemonin which is poisonous. Corsicam Hellebore is toxic if eaten in large quantities.


  Helleborus argutifolius  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Ranunculaceae  

Distribution
 family8Buttercup family8Ranunculaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Helleborus
Helleborus
(Hellebores)

CORSICAN HELLEBORE

Helleborus argutifolius

[Formerly known as: Helleborus Corsicus]

Buttercup Family [Ranunculaceae]  

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