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Veratrum viride (Green false hellebore)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Veratrum viride

Veratrum viride Aiton

Green False Hellebore, Green Corn Lily

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Veratrum eschscholtzianum, Veratrum eschscholtzii, Veratrum eschscholtzii var. incriminatum, Veratrum viride ssp. eschscholtzii, Veratrum viride var. eschscholtzii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A stout plant with large leaves clasping stem that bears a branching cluster of greenish, star-shaped, hairy flowers.

The ribbed, yellow-green leaves of this wetland plant are conspicuous in spring; the plant withers away before summer. It is said that some Native American chiefs were selected only if they survived eating this poisonous plant. The two other false hellebores in the East have hairless flowers: Small-flowered Veratrum (V. parviflorum), with leaves stalked and mostly basal, occurs in drier woods from Virginia to Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and West Virginia. Wood's False Hellebore, (V. woodii), with greenish-purple to blackish-purple flowers, is found in dry woods from Ohio to Missouri and Oklahoma, and in Iowa.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , AL , CA , CT , DC , DE , GA , ID , MA , MD , ME , MN , MT , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , TN , VA , VT , WA , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NL , NS , QC
Native Distribution: New Brunswick, Quebec, and New England; south to Maryland and, in uplands, to Georgia and Tennessee; west to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Swamps, wet woods, and meadows.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand


Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Toxic if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, salivation, headache, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, sweating, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Steroidal alkaloids. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.5 - Sowing Seeds in Fall for a Spectacular Spring Season, Education Director's Repor...
Wildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.4 - The Worth of a Native Plant, Pros and Cons of Using Rare Native Plants, Educatio...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Veratrum viride in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Veratrum viride in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Veratrum viride


Record Modified: 2017-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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