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In Bloom

HelleboresChristmas Rose
 
Hellebores
Hellebores 1Hellebores 2Hellebores 4Hellebores 6Hellebores 3Hellebores 7Hellebores 8Hellebores 9
 

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There are few plants in the northern hemisphere that choose winter as their time to bloom. Growing from lustrous basal leaves, palmate and often markedly toothed, Hellebores rise on graceful stems to support a shy, buttercup type flower with sepals rather than petals in colors of white, pink, purple, green, even yellow. Their true petals are nectaries, an inner ring of tiny glands containing sugar water and tucked below the many pale stamens, features indicating a primitive plant. Other hellebores have bell-shaped flowers and deciduous leaves.

In Western Europe, on islands in the Mediterranean, Corsica, Majorca, Sardinia, to the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and even as far as western China, one can find Hellebores braving frigid nights and dry summers, growing in the dappled shade of forests. A shade plant, hellebores requires little maintenance and their mounds of leaves rejuvenate as winter approaches and the buds appear, often opening in time for Christmas.

Gertrude Jekyll, an influential British garden designer, writer and artist of the early 20th century wrote that gardeners should use Hellebores "where wood and garden meet...where, placed under deciduous trees, the sun of winter meets the shade of summer."

Profile
Scientific Name Helleborus
Common Name Hellebore, Lenten Rose
Family Ranunculaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous perennials
Environment Well drained soil, ample moisture for most species.
Bloom Winter and early spring-flowering
Uses These frost-resistant plants are valued by gardeners for providing blooms in an otherwise lean time. Winter food source for bees. Used in ancient times as a ritual plant and as a poison, Alexander the Great is believed by some historians to have died from a hellebore overdose.
More Info A complete guide to the genus, including new species and introductions: http://www.hellebores.org

Barry Glick's famous hellebore nursery in West VA: http://www.sunfarm.com/

A great new resource book on the genus is Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide. Burrell and Tyler, Timber Press: Portland, Oregon, 2006.

Image showing the variety of Hellebores blooms
Location

Find Hellebores in the Library Terrace Garden, Asian Discovery Garden, Ancient Plant Garden, Zellerbach Garden and in beds 7d, 10b, 11a, 28, 72a.

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IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS:
Photos by Docent Joanne Taylor; text by Kathy McNeil; profile by Fred Bové

 
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Magnolia dawsoniana

Magnolia dawsoniana

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

Magnolia campbellii 'Strybing White'

February

Magnolia laevifolia'Strybing Compact'

Magnolia laevifolia 'Strybing Compact'

March

Aristolochia californica

Aristolochia californica

April

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Chlorogalum pomeridianum

May

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June

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July

Cistus sp.

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August

Rosmarinus sp.

Rosmarinus sp.

September

Dahlia spp.

Dahlia spp.

October

   
Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Magnolia x veitchii

Magnolia x veitchii

March

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

April

Aesculus californica

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May

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June

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July

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August

Asarum caudatum

Asarum caudatum

September

Deppea splendens

Deppea splendens

October

Montanoa spp.

Montanoa spp.

November

Bidens sp.

Bidens sp.

December

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

January

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

February

Bomaria spp.

Bomarea spp.

March

Rhododendron occidentale

Rhododendron occidentale

April

Polystichum munitum

Polystichum munitum

May

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

x Chiranthofremontia lenzii

June

Salvia leucantha

Salvia leucantha

July

Hydrangea seemannii

Hydrangea seemannii

August

Wollemia nobilis

Wollemia nobilis

September

Cyathea cooperi

Cyathea cooperi

October

Pinus radiata

Pinus radiata

November

Correa spp.

Correa spp.

December

Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica

January

Magnolia x soulangeana

Magnolia x soulangeana

February

Senecio glastifolius

Senecio glastifolius

March

Ribes spp.

Ribes spp.

April

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregana

May

Calandrinia grandiflora

Calandrinia grandiflora

June

Taxus baccata

Taxus baccata

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Passiflora parritae

Passiflora parritae

September

Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus

October

Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress

November

Aloe arborescens

Aloe arborescens

December

Aloe plicatilis

Aloe plicatilis

January

Banksia seminuda

Banksia seminuda

February

Zantedeschia elliottiana

Zantedeschia aethiopica

March

Magnolia laevifolia

Magnolia laevifolia

April

Araucaria heterophylla

Araucaria heterophylla

May

Toxicodendron diversilobum

Toxicodendron diversilobum

June

Clarkia sp.

Clarkia sp.

July

Agapanthus

Agapanthus

August

Brugmansia

Brugmansia

September

Cedrus spp.

Cedrus spp.

October

Protea repens

Protea repens

November

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis

December

Thujopsis dolabrata

Thujopsis dolabrata

January

Gordonia longicarpa

Gordonia longicarpa

February

Rojasianthe superba

Rojasianthe superba

March

Echium spp.

Echium spp.

April

Iris douglasiana

Iris douglasiana

May

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea

June

Felicia amelloides

Felicia amelloides

July

Ceroxylon quindiuense

Ceroxylon quindiuense

August

Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna

September

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba

October

Acer morrisonense

Acer morrisonense

November

Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium

December

Picea sitchensis

Picea sitchensis

January

Telanthophora grandifolia

Telanthophora grandifolia

February

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

Aeonium arboreum 'Schwartzkopf'

March

Leptospermum Spp.

Leptospermum

April

Salvia gesneraeflora

Salvia gesneraeflora

May

Lavandula spp.

Lavandula spp.

June

Pelargonium

Pelargonium

July

Fuchsia paniculata

Fuchsia paniculata

August

Luma apiculata

Luma apiculata

September

Luculia

Luculia

October

Arbutus unedo

Arbutus unedo

November

Cycads

Cycad

December

Restionaceae

Restionaceae

January

Hellebores

Hellebores

February

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

March

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

April

Psoralea pinnata

Psoralea pinnata

May

Fremontodendron californicum

Fremontodendron californicum

June

Leucadendron argenteum

Leucadendron argenteum

July

Crocosmia

Crocosmia

August

Gunnera tinctoria

Gunnera tinctoria

September

Pellaea rotundifolia

Pellaea rotundifolia

October

Fuchsia boliviana

Fuchsia boliviana

November

Erica canaliculata

Erica canaliculata

December

Magnolia campbelli

Magnolia campbelli

January

Magnolia denudata

Magnolia denudata

February

Camellia

Camellia

March

Geranium maderense

Geranium maderense

April

Acmena smithii

Acmena smithii

May

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

June

Dendromecon harfordii

Dendromecon harfordii

July

Romneya coulteri

Romneya coulteri

August

Eupatorium purpureum

Eupatorium purpureum

September

Epilobium canum sp.

Epilobium canum sp.

October

Grevillea spp.

Grevillea spp.

November

Drimys winteri

Drimys winteri

December

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