Helleborus orientalis, Hellebore, Lenten rose, Christmas rose

Helleborus orientalis, Hellebore, Lenten rose, Christmas rose is a member of the Ranunculaceae (buttercup family). blooming in late winter or very early spring. It is commonly grown as a garden ornamental. Originating in Western Asia, the Caucasus and Southeastern Europe, and closely related to or confused with Helleborus niger, black hellebore. Known since ancient times as medicine and poison, it contains the cardiac glycoside hellborin which directly affects the heart muscles, and can cause convulsions, delerium, and depending upon the dose, death. Both the dried and fresh root are toxic. The root described in ancient markets is black, hence the name, black hellebore. Not to be confused with the genus Veratrum, which is also referred to by the common name "hellebore" with qualifiers.

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