Index | Search | Home | Herb Hunters

American False-Hellebore

Veratrum viride Ait.

American false-hellebore
Figure 5.—American false-hellebore (Veratrum viride)
Other common names.—True veratrum, green veratrum American veratrum green hellebore, swamp hellebore, big hellebore, false hellebore, bear corn, bugbane, bugwort, devil's-bite, earth gall, Indian poke, itchweed, tickleweed, duck-retter.

Habitat and range.—American false-hellebore is native in rich wet woods, swamps and wet meadows, its range extending from Canada, Alaska, and Minnesota south to Georgia and Tennessee.

Description.—The large bright-green leaves of this plant make their way through the ground early in spring, followed later in the season by a stout, erect leafy stem, sometimes growing as tall as 6 feet. It is round and solid, pale green, closely surrounded by the sheathing bases of the leaves and unbranched except in the flowering head. The large leaves, the lower ones of which are from 6 to 12 inches in length and 3 to 6 inches in width, are hairy and pleated like a fan. The numerous greenish-yellow flowers are produced from May to July in rather open clusters. The plant is very poisonous.

Part used.—The rootstock, dug in autumn when the leaves have died down.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Wednesday, March 11, 1998 by aw