Green Flowers: Hellebores

Helleborus argutifolius has pale green flowers
Helleborus argutifolius

Green flowers are not always as subtle as they might appear – some of them are very striking. Today I’m sharing pictures of some of my favourite green hellebores.

Helleborus argutifolius produces one sturdy stem thickly clustered with flowers and buds a few shades lighter than the darker green leaves, and with golden stamens. The flowers persist for weeks or even months as with all hellebores, eventually forming equally striking seed heads, pollinators permitting. Like Helleborus foetidus (below) this is widely grown in the UK and can be found in many winter gardens.

Helleborus foetidus with dark foliage
Helleborus foetidus

This particular Helleborus foetidus has dark, purple tinged foliage and pretty purple lines around the edges of the petals (or sepals). At a guess, it is part of the Wester Flisk group. H. foetidus is an architectural plant, not because of its height, but because of the stems of elegant, tiered buds that hang like bells above deep, palmate foliage.

The name H. ‘foetidus’ ought by rights to be a deterrent but I’ve never smelt anything dodgy, despite crouching down beside them to snap a picture. In contrast, a patch of foxy-smelling Fritillaria imperialis (not illustrated here, I’ll dig out my pictures another day) once lured me away from a path twenty yards or so deep into a wood following my nose to find them.

Helleborus abruzzicus has green flowers
Helleborus abruzzicus

Hellebore abruzzicus has nodding flowers too but held on individual stems. I managed to prop one up for long enough to take a picture so we could see inside it. Their colour doesn’t stand out noticeably from the foliage, the whole creating a very demure look. This is quite a rare plant recently introduced to the UK, assuming the label at Bodnant Gardens was correct.

Helleborus sternii has copper coloured flowers with green faces
Helleborus sternii

My last has a green face, although the buds and the backs of the sepals and foliage are a coppery colour. H. sternii and its hybrids are some of my favourite types of hellebores, although regular readers may remember I do love them all. Perhaps this one doesn’t count as green, but it sure is pretty. And look at all those buds!

Shared for Cee’s Flower Of The Day

44 Replies to “Green Flowers: Hellebores”

  1. An excellent set of photos. I pictured some of ours this morning – still can’t bend my knees enough, so they will appear with hanging heads – perhaps no bad thing.

  2. H. foetidus is a wonderful plant – I’ve let it spread throughout my dry edge-of-woodland beds. It blooms with the snowdrops, no mean feat here in snow country. I’ve never smelled it either, even when I’ve moved some of the younger plants.

  3. I used to grow these in my New Hampshire garden and they were the first flowers to see in very early Spring, usually with snow still on the ground.

  4. Again, you succeeded in making these very appealing to me. I bet if I saw them growing well in an English garden (like yours!) that would help me change my mind about them. THey’ve always seemed too stiff for my taste, and they’re often surrounded here by the detritus of late winter when they bloom, which doesn’t help.

    1. Often a lot of the detritus is attached to the hellebore! I always cut off last year’s foliage when the flower buds start to emerge. If you leave it too long, you often chop the buds off too.

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