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Similar but less problematic plants:
Helleborus niger Helleborus niger
Helleborus orientalis is often confused with:
Helleborus x hybridus Helleborus x hybridus
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Helleborus x hybridus Helleborus x hybridus
Helleborus foetidus Helleborus foetidus
Clematis hybrida Clematis 'marcelina' late large flowered

Helleborus Helleborus orientalis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
hel-eh-BORE-us or-ee-en-TAH-liss
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Helleborus orientalis is easy to grow, requiring only a shady location and good, moist soil. They will do best where they receive winter sunlight but are  protected from the wind.  These beautiful harbingers of spring have interesting, nodding flowers and large, dark green leaves.

 

TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES.

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.

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Royal Heritage'
    wide range of colors - purple, pink, rose, light green with spotted or contrasting colors
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#partial shade#perennial#light shade#purple flowers#pink flowers#spring flowers#winter interest#moist soil#cpp#well-drained soil#long-lasting flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#naturalizes#clumping#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Royal Heritage'
    wide range of colors - purple, pink, rose, light green with spotted or contrasting colors
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#poisonous#partial shade#perennial#light shade#purple flowers#pink flowers#spring flowers#winter interest#moist soil#cpp#well-drained soil#long-lasting flowers#deer resistant#groundcover#naturalizes#clumping#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helleborus
    Species:
    orientalis
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia Minor, Eurasia (Turkey, Caucasus)
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer resistant
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • 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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    Clustered, green, fleshy capsules, long-beaked, surrounded by persistent sepals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Beautiful harbingers of spring, with interesting, nodding solitary winter flowers, 2.5" wide and saucer shaped. 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:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Denticulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leathery, shiny, dark-green leaves palmately divided with 7-9 leaflets, edged with shallow teeth. 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
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Pollution
    Poor Soil
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nervous symptoms, depression; skin irritation after contact with cell sap
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Protoanemonin suspected
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems