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By Alanb

Cheshire, United Kingdom Gb

Could anyone tell me please, if "stinking hellebores" are poisonous? We have a lot of these seeded in a small area of our garden and I would rather be safe than sorry. I assume (maybe incorrectly) that if you wear gloves and wash your hands properly after gardening that there really isn't an issue. Thank you.

On plant Helleborus foetidus




As far as I know, they are poisonous if you should happen to eat them. The sap may cause a rash on skin, but unless you are in the habit of eating your garden plants, then all should be well.

8 Apr, 2014


Thanks Fractal cat ... I'll just stick to eating the conference pears and green gages then.

PS I did hear of someone though, suffered serious burns on their fingers, requiring medical treatment, after extracting seeds from green pods without using gloves.

8 Apr, 2014


Some people do seem susceptible to handling seeds of hellebores. We grow a number of hellebore and I collect seed from them for a seedex - bare fingers and no problem. The person with 'serious burns' must be very sensitive to the seeds.

8 Apr, 2014


Bulbaholic, thank you very much for your comments. I think you're right about 'different peoples sensitivity'
to the seeds. I feel a lot more comfortable now and will leave them in the garden for now.

8 Apr, 2014


The only thing I would add is that the smell from the leaves is very hard to get off your fingers if you happen to crush a leaf.
Like Bulbaholic, I have never had any problem with sensitivity to the seeds though.

8 Apr, 2014


Owdboggy thanks for taking the time to reply to my question. Much appreciated!

8 Apr, 2014


Maybe it's the same reason that some people have a nut allergy and most others don't. If you want to definitively find out if you're allergic to them then just rub a tiny bit of the plant onto the inside of your forearm and see what happens.

8 Apr, 2014


Hi Myron, thank you for commenting.

8 Apr, 2014


Neither me or our children and grandchildren have ever had any problems with ours in all the years we have had them and I dig the old ones out each year and compost the leaves. Usually without wearing gloves as I start off wearing them and leave them somewhere in the garden.!!!

18 Apr, 2014


Thank you very much, for taking the time to let me know.

18 Apr, 2014

How do I say thanks?

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