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Lenten Rose Helleborus niger

Phonetic Spelling
hel-eh-BORE-us NY-jer
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Helleborus niger is a winter-blooming evergreen perennial with large, bowl-shaped, white flowers with yellow stamens. They are often called Christmas roses because they bloom around Christmas in warmer regions and in early spring in cooler areas. They are an excellent cut flower and are attractive when set floating in a bowl of water.

The scientific name comes from the Greek words 'helein', meaning injures, and 'bora', meaning food, referring to the toxic properties when the plant is eaten.  The specific name 'niger', meaning black,  refers to the color of the roots.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Flowers nodding, petaloid sepals
  • Short plant with stiff, large, evergreen leaves 
  • Leaves are palmately divided into many leaflets
  • Flower center of numerous stamens outlined by tubular nectaries, or fleshy , beaked capsules

Blooms in late winter to very early spring; utilized for borders or patios in protected, shady spots; poisonous leaves and roots- Greek 'helein'= to injure and 'bora'= food; excellent for long, winter blooming display. 

Numerous hybrid selections and species available, often difficult to distinguished, misidentified in trade, and each callen lenten rose, a name historically associated with H. orientalis. 

Prefers partial to full shade; prefers organic-enriched soil; intolerant of bright winter sun and high temperatures; Fungal diseases are main problem.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Double Fantasy'
    Semi-double, outward-facing blooms on tall stems, with ruffled white petals
  • 'HGC Jacob'
    Large, long-lasting white flowers which mature to green and are tinged with pink in colder climates
'Double Fantasy', 'HGC Jacob'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#drought tolerant#perennial#light shade#container plant#shade tolerant#cut flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#shelter#winter interest#cottage garden#cpp#well-drained soil#deer resistant#houseplants#self-seeding#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#dry soils tolerant#HS302#Christmas decorations#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Double Fantasy'
    Semi-double, outward-facing blooms on tall stems, with ruffled white petals
  • 'HGC Jacob'
    Large, long-lasting white flowers which mature to green and are tinged with pink in colder climates
'Double Fantasy', 'HGC Jacob'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#drought tolerant#perennial#light shade#container plant#shade tolerant#cut flowers#shade garden#broadleaf evergreen#shelter#winter interest#cottage garden#cpp#well-drained soil#deer resistant#houseplants#self-seeding#alkaline soil tolerant#fantz#dry soils tolerant#HS302#Christmas decorations#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helleborus
    Species:
    niger
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    alpine and open woodlands in central and southern Europe
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Clustered, green, fleshy capsules, long-beaked, surrounded by persistent sepals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    solitary or 2-3, 5-parted, white becoming pink or purplish. A stalked cyme or panicle, terminal, bracteated, often nodding; bracts gigantic, leaf-like, dark green, entire to sparsely toothed, +/- lobed. 1-many, usually greenish, tinted gold or brown, pink or purple, cup or bowl-shaped, nodding, 3-4" dia; sepals 5, showy, pigmented, broadly ovate-elliptic; inner petal segments numerous, consisting of tubular nectaries, green to greenish-yellow, ephemeral; stamens numerous, anther yellow.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, palmately divided with 7-9 leaflets. Basal or cauline, palmately compound, coriaceous, glabrous; petiloes elongate, peltate; leaflets 3-9, irregularly toothed or serrate.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stout, rhizomatous or exposed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nervous symptoms, depression. Skin irritation after contact with cell sap.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cardiac glycosides, saponins, Protoanemonin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems