Helleborus foetidus (stinking hellebore)
Origin: central & Southern Europe
Location: near the Evolution Garden
This evergreen perennial grows to 80cm tall and 100cm across, with thick succulent stems, glossy palmate leaves, and drooping yellowish-green cup-shaped flowers in spring. The five petal-like sepals contain numerous stamens, as well as up to ten nectaries, which make them attractive to bees and other insects. Each flower produces up to five seed follicles. Despite its common name, it is not noticeably malodorous, although the foliage is pungent when crushed. It prefers a deep, humus-rich, well-drained soil, and dappled shade, though it is also drought-tolerant. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.