Christmas Rose, Black Hellebore
A highlight of the garden in winter, Helleborus niger is a dark, leathery evergreen perennial which bears erect stems of beautiful bowl shaped white flowers, often tinged pink in bud.
Helleborus niger is native to mountainous regions of Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. Despite being commonly called the Christmas rose, it is in fact in the buttercup family (Ranunculacea).
Whilst nowadays we see this as a genteel traditional cottage garden favourite, in ancient medicine it was famed as a purgative – regularly prescribed by the likes of Hippocrates in the 5th Century BC. It has also been used in a variety of other folk medicines across the ages, despite being extremely poisonous to ingest.
Care & Size Guidance
Most gardeners leave Hellebores as an easy low maintenance evergreen.
However, the plant’s leaves can sometimes have a tendency to become somewhat dishevelled as flowering approaches. Show gardeners seeking a more pristine effect will often remove hellebore foliage in early winter to let the flowers appear in full naked glory!