Stinking Hellebore

Helleborus foetidus

Late January to March

A good friend introduced me to the stinking hellebores growing on Riddledown. These plants flower very early in the year and I was struck that bumblebees were visiting the plants from February onwards, well before other plants were in flower.  The specimens on Riddlesdown grow on a steep slope and most people would not have seen them close up.  It is important to note that the plants are toxic and should not be touched.

The name of the plant amused my family during my project; I was spending a lot of time with the stinking hellebores! The plant does not stink if you are near to it, but the leaves can give off a musky smell if crushed.

I enjoyed painting this plate the most out of the set. It was the last plate that I tackled and the largest specimen.  I took the opportunity to complete a habit study as well; a sketch of the whole plant; as it was not possible to depict the whole specimen on the botanical plate.