Synonyms: Helleborus hyemalism, Winterling (German).
The Winter Aconite is one of the first flowers to bloom in the Spring, and is a low-growing, hardy perennial. It can be found growing in British woodlands, as a garden escape and often beats the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) into bloom.
It is not a true Aconite, though closely allied, being also a member of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), whose blossoms it more nearly resembles. Like other members of the Buttercup family (and other Aconites), the whole Winter Aconite plant is poisonous and has caused several fatalities over the years. Greek literature refers to the use of Winter Aconite as poison.
The Generic name, Aeranthis, means flower of the Earth and probably refers to the low-growing habit of the plant.
There is no known medicinal use of the plant, though the juice is photo-active and acrid.