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 thoughts on “Green Flowers: Hellebores

  1. Oddment says:

    Yes, yes, I am looking at those buds! I think I have never seen such a wreath as that, all around the centerpiece. The green and purple is astounding. So tight with life! And that top photo — I love the almost-white and especially the contours of the petals as they show there.
    What beauties!

    • susurrus says:

      The bottom one is a bud-fest. One thing that always makes me smile is to see hellebore flowers that have been frosted and look dead, knowing they will most likely perk back up again as soon as the weather improves.

  2. Audrey Driscoll says:

    Hellebores do well at my place. I have several plants of argutifolius (I think). They do exude a skunky aroma, rather like marijuana, unfortunately (even though it’s legal in Canada now). But they are attractive plants. Bees love the flowers and I’ve even seen a hummingbird checking them out.

    • susurrus says:

      I’d love to have seen the humming bird on the hellebores – that’s not something you’d see round here. We saw bees on some yellow gorse flowers yesterday. I did wonder if it was wise for them to be out so early in the year, but I suppose they know best.

  3. Vicki says:

    Hellebores are some of my favourite flowers too. I love the green ones, but after seeing one almost black, I decided they are among my favourites as much as the green variety. Black (or nearly black) flowers are such a rarity.

    My mother used to grow Hellebores in her enormous garden at our first family home (having a mostly shade-loving garden in front of our house). They never seem to last long as a cut flower though, so maybe they’re best enjoyed in the ground. Most varieties seem to hang their flower heads downwards which is a bit annoying to photograph as they’re not tall plants by any means 🙂

    • susurrus says:

      I always bend down and lift up the flower head to check inside, as the backs can be so different to the insides, but my knees know about it next day if I’ve seen a lot. At least they are a bit taller than snowdrops! I might have another blackish one somewhere I can share.

  4. Heyjude says:

    H. foetidus is a lovely plant and I really should have some in my garden. Your photos are a delight to see as usual. I have to ask, do you have a garden of your own?

  5. composerinthegarden says:

    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.

  6. Pam says:

    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.

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