Indian Hellebore

Plant Use(es):Medicinal

Corn_lily_Veratrum_californicum_buds

Flowers – Photo by Dcrjsr

Flowers and leaves - Photo by Johnny

Flowers and leaves – Photo by Johnny SB

Other common names: corn lily, green false hellebore, Island Halkomelem: qwunulhp, Gitxsan: sgants’iks (leaves & plant), malgwasxw (root), Wet’suwet’en: konye

Scientific name: Veratrum viride Aiton

Family name: Liliaceae (lily family)

PLANT DESCRIPTION

Indian Hellebore is a perennial herb, that grows to be 0.7-2.0m long, with numerous, broad, green leaves growing off it’s stem. It has numerous star-shaped flowers, yellow-green in colour, that are present on branched, drooping tassels.

FOOD AND MEDICINAL USES

There are no known nutritional uses of this invasive plant, this is because it’s toxic components make it poisonous to both humans and animals. Consumption in high quantities can even result in death. Indian Hellebore has been used to cure skin and scalp conditions by grating it’s roots and incorporating it into bath water. The smoke of burnt hellebore has also been used as a decongestant.

General disclaimer: It is recommended that individuals seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally. The University of British Columbia is not responsible for any adverse effects that might result from the use of this plant.

INTERESTING POINTS

  • Plants from this genus are powdered to help create the garden insecticide, “Hellebore”.
  • The Gitxsan people dried and sliced the rhizome, then burnt it to drive away evil spirits.
  • Hunter’s have added it to their laundry to remove the smell of human.
  • The Wet’suwet’en believed you would become lucky if you bathed in liquid from the roots of Indian hellebore.

LOCATION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

Veratrum viride can typically be found in moist to wet meadows, thickets, swamps, stream-banks, and open forests from the lowland and all the way to the alpine zones of British Columbia.

LOCATION IN UBC

Unknown

For more information on Indian hellebore visit E-Flora BC:

http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Veratrum%20viride

SOURCES

Indian hellebore (veratrum viride). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bcheritage.ca/hazeltons/hellborf.htm

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sfu.ca/halk-ethnobiology/html/plants/indianhellebore.htm

Photo credits

Dcrjsr (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

SB_Johnny (My photo) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Veratrum_veride2.JPG

Link to e-flora

4 responses to “Indian Hellebore”

  1. Joel George Thekkedath

    Where can we find Indian hellebore or Veratrum californicum in India??

  2. Joel George Thekkedath

    I’ve seen cyclopia in a new born goat in south of India,my native place. Is Veratrum californicum is the only plant responsible for cyclopia? If it is the only plant, then can we find the plant in the same area, where we feed the goat?

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