Stems: stout, tall, very leafy. Leaves: acute, strongly veined, short-petioled, sheathing, the upper ones successively narrower, those of the inflorescence small. Flowers: panicles long, pubescent, densely many-flowered, its lower branches spreading.

This is by far the largest and handsomest green-flowered plant which grows in the mountains. Its foliage is immense in size, bright green, and the leaves have a peculiar plaited appearance. In the early spring the stout solid spears of the Indian Hellebore push their way up through the soil and soon begin to unfold with the increasing warmth of the sun's rays. Then the long stiff spikes and graceful pendent tassels of flowers commence to lengthen and unfold, yellowish at first, and later on becoming greener. The flowers are composed of six petals and have six whitish stamens.

Burton in his Anatomic of Melancholy refers to the alleged curative properties of the Hellebore as an antidote for madness.

"Borage and hellebore fill two scenes, Sovereign plants to purge the veins Of melancholy, and cheer the heart Of those black fumes which make it smart."

Plate X

Indian Hellebore (Veratrum viride)

Indian Hellebore (Veratrum viride)

Yet according to the principle that those herbs which cure may also kill, the Hellebore is best known to us as a very poisonous plant.