This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect perennial herbs, with large palmately divided leaves, the basal long-petioled, the upper sessile and sometimes reduced to bracts. Flowers large, white, greenish or yellowish. Sepals 5, broad, petaloid, mainly persistent. Petals 8-10, small, unguiculate, tubular. Stamens 00. Carpels generally few, sessile, in fruit forming several-seeded capsules, which are dehiscent at the apex at maturity. [The classical name for H. orientalis; derivation unknown.]
A genus of coarse herbs, comprising about 15 species, natives of Europe and western Asia. Type species: Helleborus niger L.
Helleborus viridis L. Sp. Pl. 558. 1753.
Stout, erect, 1°-2° high, glabrous. Basal leaves 8'-12' broad, on petioles 6'-10' long, palmately divided into 7-11 oblong acute sharply serrate segments 3'-4' long; stem hardly exceeding the basal leaves, and bearing several sessile similar leaves near the top subtending the large drooping yellowish-green flowers; sepals broadly oblong, obtuse, spreading, about 1' long; petals tubular, 2-lipped, 2" long; stamens widened; anthers oblong, obtuse; pods 8" long, tipped with a slender beak one-third their length or longer.
5. ERÁNTHIS Salisb. Trans. Linn. Soc. 8: 303. 1803. [Cammarum Hill, Brit. Herb. 47, pl. 7. Hyponym. 1756.] Low herbs, with perennial tuberiferous rootstocks. Basal leaves palmately dissected. Cauline leaf one, borne near the summit of the stem, sessile or amplexicaul, immediately subtending the large yellow flower. Sepals 5-8, narrow, petaloid, deciduous. Petals, small two-lipped nectaries. Stamens numerous. Carpels commonly few, stipitate, many-ovuled, in fruit forming a head of follicles. [Greek, flower of spring.]
A genus of about 5 species, natives of Europe and the mountains of Asia, the following typical.
Helleborus hyemalis L. Sp. Pl. 557. 1753.
Eranthis hyemalis Salisb. Trans. Linn. Soc. 8: 304. 1803.
Erect, simple, 5'-8' high from a tuberous-thickened rootstock; roots fibrous. Basal leaves long-petioled, 1 1/2' broad, divided and cleft into numerous linear or oblong lobes; cauline leaf similar, invo-lucrate, sessile, clasping; flower solitary, 1 1/2' wide, sessile; sepals 5-9, membranous, obovate, obtuse, occasionally lobed; petals several, clawed, 2-lipped; stamens numerous; filaments filiform; anthers oblong, obtuse; carpels several, stipitate; follicles compressed, 5" long, tipped with a sharp beak.
Naturalized from Europe at Bartram's Garden, Philadelphia, and at Media, Pa. Wolf's-bane. Christmas-flower. February.
6. CÓPTIS Salisb. Trans. Linn. Soc. 8: 305. 1803.
Low herbs, with slender perennial rootstocks, basal compound or divided leaves, and scapose white flowers. Sepals 5-7, petaloid, deciduous; petals 5-7, small, linear, cucullate. Stamens numerous. Carpels stipitate, few, in fruit forming an umbel of follicles. [Name from the Greek, referring to the cut or divided leaves.]
A genus of about 9 species, inhabiting the cooler portions of the north temperate zone. In addition to the following, three others are found on the Pacific Coast of North America. Type species: Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb.
Helleborus trifolius L. Sp. Pl. Ed. 2, 784. 1762. Coptis trifolia Salisb. Trans. Linn. Soc. 8: 305.
Tufted, glabrous, 3'-6' high from a slender or filiform yellow bitter rootstock. Leaves all basal, evergreen, long-petioled, the blade reni-form, 1'-2' broad, 3-divided; petioles very slender; segments broadly obovate, cuneate, obtuse, prominently veined, crenate or slightly lobed, dark green and shining above, paler beneath, the teeth mucronate; scape 1-flowered, occasionally 2-flowered, slender; sepals oblong, obtuse; petals small, club-shaped; follicles 3-7, about 3" long, borne on stipes of about their own length, spreading, tipped with a beak \"-\\" long.
In damp mossy woods, and bogs, Newfoundland to Maryland and eastern Tennessee, Iowa, Minnesota, British Columbia and Alaska. Ascends to 3500 ft. in the Adirondacks. Called also canker-root, mouth-root, yellow-root. May-Aug.