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Featured Conservation Plants: July 2015

July 2015:
Veratrum album ‘Lorna’s Green’

Veratrums are statuesque, hardy herbaceous perennials found across north temperate regions of Europe, Asia and North America. There are around two dozen species but less than half of these are grown commercially and often in small numbers by specialist nurseries.

Veratrum album ‘Lorna’s Green’ was introduced to the Conservation Scheme in 2011 by HPS members living in Gloucestershire who had grown it for many years and become aware that it differed significantly from other examples in cultivation. The original specimen came from the Maritime Alps.

It grows up to 2.5m tall, has handsome, ovate-lanceolate leaves that clasp the stem but with long internodes half or more the length of the stem leaves. The inflorescence is rather lax with branched spikelets, drooping at an angle of about 45 degrees to the stem. The flowers are a strong green about 10mm across, tepals 3-5mm lomg, narrow, acute, somewhat attenuated and hairy. They flower in June and July.

This particular Veratrum may be grown successfully in a wide range of soil types but thrives in deep, rich, moisture retentive situations. It also shows reasonable resistance to slug damage and does not appear affected by other pests and diseases.

To ensure distribution of the true plant propagation should be by division only as variation may occur in seed-grown plants.

For a fuller description of this plant and other Veratrums please refer to the HPS Journal, Vol.29 No.1, Spring 1998 and the article ‘Variation in Veratrum’ by Keith Ferguson.


The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.


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