Indicator Plants

Veratrum viride – Indian hellebore

Common Name

Indian hellebore



Scientific Name

Veratrum viride

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
  • Wet (W)
Soil Nutrient Regime (SNR)
  • Rich (R)

Botanical Drawing

Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual © 1973. Reprinted with permission of the University of Washington Press.

General / Habitat
  • Tall, robust perennial herb
  • Grows in wet thickets, meadows, and open forests.
  • Most common at subalpine elevations in late snowmelt patches, but can be found at all elevations
Key Identifying Characteristics
  • Form: 0.7-2 m tall, stems robust and unbranched, hairy throughout
  • Leaves: Spirally arranged, large, broad, oblong, tip pointed, clasping at base, prominently ribbed, hairy beneath
  • Flowers: Pale-green with dark green centres, numerous in branched, drooping terminal clusters
  • Fruit: Capsules containing winged seeds
  • Other: Extremely toxic – do not consume any parts of the plant, even drinking water in which hellebore is growing may cause stomach cramps
Interesting Characteristics
  • Revered but used sparingly by many coastal peoples for its powerful medicinal properties

Douglas, G.W. et al (Editors). 1998-2002. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Volumes 1 to 8. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C.

Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 2014. Plants of Coastal British Columbia Including Washington, Oregon & Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forestry and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C.



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