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160317 hellebore (1)

On Tuesday I featured the Stinking hellebore I had found in a local woodland. Today, we have Helleborus orientalis, the Lenten rose, which is currently flowering profusely in the gardens of Roath Park here in Cardiff. The flowers are very beautiful, though, as with all the hellebores, this plant is poisonous so please do take care when handling it.

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I particularly liked one piece of folklore related on The Poison Garden website. It seems if you ‘spread the powdered root onto the floor … when you step on the powder you become invisible’, though the report continues:

That story about invisibility seems to originate with the ever unreliable Mrs Grieve. In ‘A Modern Herbal’ she says ‘In an old French romance, the sorcerer, to make himself invisible when passing through the enemy’s camp, scatters powdered Hellebore in the air, as he goes.’ The change from scattering in the air to spreading on the ground illustrates how folklore mutates.

Given the plant’s toxicity, I’m very reluctant to try the trick, though I admit it might sometimes come in very handy!

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