A plant belonging to the genus Helleborus. It is a type of buttercup with leaves at the base of the plant and flowers in clusters. Some species contain the organic chemical helleborein, which is used as a heart stimulant.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Hel"le*bore (?), n. [L. helleborus, elleborus, Gr. , ; cf. F. hell'ebore, ell'ebore.]

1. Bot.

A genus of perennial herbs (Helleborus) of the Crowfoot family, mostly having powerfully cathartic and even poisonous qualities. H. niger is the European black hellebore, or Christmas rose, blossoming in winter or earliest spring. H. officinalis was the officinal hellebore of the ancients.

2. Bot.

Any plant of several species of the poisonous liliaceous genus Veratrum, especially V. album and V. viride, both called white hellebore.

 

© Webster 1913.

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