This is a genus of perennials that spread by thick rhizomes. They have glossy green, deeply veined leaves and clusters of hanging bell-shaped flowers in spring, which are usually red, purple, brownish or yellow. Extracts are widely used in herbal medicine and in modern drugs to treat various ailments.
There are just five species, which grow wild in central and southeastern Europe, across to Russia.
They require a shady spot and, ideally, humus-rich, but free-draining soil. They are ideal for a woodland garden.