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Hellebores: Species, Interspecies Hybrids and Cultivars

21 or so species organised into 6 sections by Brian Mathew in 1989. The classification of the different groups is based on the following parameters:

- The presence of stems

- Carpels grown together at the base or not

- shape and texture of the anthers

- Size and shape of the seeds

- Ability of the plants to hybridize

- Differences of the leaves

- Colour of the flowers

This leads to following classification: Balkans species are very variable and sometimes extremely difficult to identify with certainty.

Section                        species

Syncarpus                   H. versicarius

Griphopus                   H. foetidus

Chenopus                   H. argutifolius, H. lividus

Helleborus                  H. niger

Helleborastrum           H. abruzzicus H. atrorubens H. bocconei H. croaticus H. cyclophyllos H. dumetorum H. hercegovinus H. istriacus H. liguricus H. multifidus

                                   H. occidentalis H. orientalis H. purpurascens H.  torquatus H. viridis

Dicarpon                     H. thibetanus

 

There are two main groups of Helleborus. They are the caulescent and the acaulescent groups. The acaulescent species produces annual flower stems rather than perennial stems while the caulescent species do produce long lasting stems. The rootstocks of these two groups are also different. The caulescent species cannot be produced from division.

The following list of Helleborus species, compiled by Joseph Woodward in 2006, contains information on which of the two main groups each species belongs to.

Acaulescent                H. abruzzicusH. atrorubensH. bocconei H. croaticus H. cyclophyllos H. dumetorum H. hercegovinus H. istriacus H. liguricus

                                    H. occidentalis H. odorus H. orientalis H. purpurascens H. purpurascens H. thibetanus H. thibetanus H. torquatus H. torquatus

                                    H. vesicarius H. vesicarius H. viridis

Acaulescent/Caulescent   H. niger

Caulescent                  H. lividus H. argutifolius H. foetidus

Hybrids   H. x ballardiae H. x ericsmithii H. x glandorfensis H. x hybridus (Ashwood Garden hybrids) H. x lemonnierae H. x nigercors H. x sahainii H. x sternii

Ashwood Nurseries www.ashwoodnurseries.com offer a fine selection of species, interspecies hybrids and cultivars, many of which are excellent garden plants. They all share a subtle natural beauty and charm with many varieties having the added bonus of good architectural foliage. Their intensive breeding programme has resulted in some outstanding new introductions. Their hellebore breeder, Kevin Belcher, is extremely proud of his Ashwood Strains of Helleborus sternii and Helleborus niger, as well as his new inter-species crosses Helleborus x belcheri ‘Pink Ice’ and Helleborus x ashwoodensis ‘Briar Rose’. Please be patient if you are interested in these new varieties as there will always be limited availability.

Hellebore species and their hybrids will generally flower from January to March, depending upon weather conditions and location.

Helleborus abruzzicus (Northern Italy)

A hardy and most distinctive green flowered form discovered recently, generally at elevations above 1,000 metres. The almost fern-like foliage is dissected into numerous leaflets which is a very desirable feature. Flowering is somewhat later than most because this plant is winter dormant. 20-30cm (8-12ins)

Helleborus argutifolius AGM (Corsica and Sardinia open rocky hillside and streams up to 7500ft with Euphorbia, C. repandum and Lavendula stoechas)

A handsome robust, evergreen plant forming an upright clump with prickly greyish-green veined leaves. Large terminal clusters of pale green cup-like flowers. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in full sun, sheltered from cold winds. Not happy below -10C, dislikes summer wet soil. Prune out old flowering stems in late spring if you do not require seed. 90cm (35ins).

Helleborus argutifolius ‘Janet Starnes’

A handsome robust, evergreen plant forming an upright clump with speckled foliage. Large terminal clusters of pale green cup-like flowers and better grown in semi-shade. 45-60cm (18-24ins).

Helleborus argutifolius ‘Large Flowered Form’ AGM

Raised at Bodnant around 1960 possibly not in cultivation today

Helleborus argutifolius 'Little erbert'

A compact bushy form which appeared as a chance seedling some years ago at Ashwood. 30-45cm (12-18ins)

Helleborus argutifolius 'Pacific Frost'

A variegated leaf form from the garden of Pam Frost in Vancover, British Columbia Canada, which is better grown in semi-shade. 45-60cm (18-24ins)

Helleborus argutifolius 'Silver Lace'

A lovely silver-leafed form introduced by Lynda Windsor, with clusters of pale green cup-like flowers. 45-60cm (18-24ins)

Helleborus atrorubens (Slovenia and Croatia)

Open woods and upland pasture land with Anemone nemorosa, Galanthus nivalis, Pulmonaria saccharata, Epimedium alpinum and Erythronium dens-canis) (Acaulescent) A deciduous species with small 3-5cm flowers on tall widely branched stems in February and March. The flower colour is generally a combination of purple and green, with more emphasis on purple on the outside, and predominantly green within. Slow, but easy to establish, requiring a humus rich, well-drained neutral soil in a sunny or slightly shady position. 30-35cm (12-14ins)

Helleborus x ashwoodensis ‘Briar Rose’

(Helleborus niger x Helleborus versicarius)

An exciting new inter-species cross bred here at Ashwood. It has beautiful deep pink flowers with a bold white centre, born in clusters on strong stems. Soft green foliage that is evergreen. Requires a sheltered position with dappled shade and a rich, well-drained soil. A ‘must-have’ plant for the hellebore enthusiast. Orders are welcome but please be patient as they only have very limited availability. 30cm (12ins)

Helleborus x ballardiae

(Helleborus lividus x Helleborus niger) (Chenopus x Helleborus sections) after Helen Ballard A compact, bushy evergreen hybrid with marbled, sometimes veined foliage. Small clusters of cream flowers flushed with various shades of pink, which deepen with age, appear from January to March. Slightly tender: we recommend you container grow your plant in a cold greenhouse, porch or conservatory, using open, free-draining compost. 30cm (12ins) Typical named selections include H. x ballardiae: 'Ice Breaker® Camelot'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Cinnamon Snow'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Maestro®'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Mahogany Snow'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Merlin®'℗ und 'Ice Breaker® Snow Dance®'℗ From Heuger in Germany.

Helleborus × ballardiae HGC ‘’Camelot’ (=Coseh 940)

This lovely interspecies hybrid from Germany has pink buds that open to creamy pink flowers; these are long lasting and outward facing above handsome, rich green foliage on red stems. It is an interspecies hybrid (H.niger and H.lividus) from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents.

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC ‘Cinnamon Snow' (=Coseh 700)

A compact bushy evergreen interspecies hybrid from Germany with marbled, sometimes veined foliage. Small clusters of beautiful cream flowers flushed with various shades of pink, which deepen with age, appear from January to March. It is an interspecies hybrid (H.niger and H.lividus) from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 50cm (20ins)

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC ‘Merlin’ (=Coseh 810)

A beautiful compact, bushy evergreen interspecies hybrid from Germany with marbled, sometimes veined foliage. Clusters of cream flowers, flushed with various shades of pink, which deepen with age, appear in profusion from January to March. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.lividus) from Germany, combining the best characteristics of both parents. 40cm (16ins)

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’

Burgundy and white buds open to soft pink shades; a spectrum of colour Mid-Jan–Mar 30-40cm (12-15")

Helleborus x ballardiae HGC ‘Snowdance’ (=Coseh 800)

This superb selection of H. x ballardiae from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany is notable for its beautiful display of enormous, forward-facing white flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. Makes an excellent subject for a patio pot. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x belcheri

An Ashwood exclusive interspecies hybrid between H. niger x H. thibetanus. Helleborus x belcheri produces beautiful clusters of frosted pink flowers, paler within, delicately frilled and veined. The young, evergreen foliage is soft and pale green, faintly mottled with silver, becoming 'leathery' and 'niger-like' with age. A 'must-have' plant for the hellebore enthusiast raised by selection of seedlings from cross. 30-40cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x belcheri 'Pink Ice'

(Helleborus nigercors x Helleborus thibetanus)

Another thrilling interspecies cross-bred at Ashwood Nuseries. Beautiful clusters of frosted pink flowers, paler within, delicately frilled and veined. The young, evergreen foliage is soft and pale green, faintly mottled with silver; becoming ‘leathery’ and ‘niger-like’ with age. Requires a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil. A ‘must-have’ plant for the hellebore enthusiast. Orders are welcome but please be patient as they only have very limited availability due to be increased by divisions only. 30-40cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus bocconei

Some list this as a sub species of H. Multifidus. Native to open woodlands in Sicily and central and southern Italy, at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres. The leaves are coarsely toothed with some hairs on the undersides. Each leaf can consist of up to 20 segments. Its green to white-green blooms, 4-6 cm in diameter, appear from January to March in habitat and sometimes as early as November in cultivation.

Helleborus croaticus (Croatia)

Open woodlands fields and flood plains or terraces of streams with Carpinus, Betula, Anemone nemorosa, Vinca and Caltha also in fields grazed by cattle) (Acaulescent) A vigorous, undemanding deciduous hellebore recently introduced by Will McLewin. The foliage is very similar to H. atrorubens, while the flowers are closer to H. torquatus. The flowers are usually pendent and rather conical, in shades of purple or reddish-violet outside, and greenish often veined within and are produced in March and April. Easy to grow, but prefers a slightly shaded position with a rich, moist but well-drained soil. 20-40cm Can be summer dormant in the garden. (8-16ins)

Helleborus cyclophyllus (Greece, former Yugoslavia)

(From dry deciduous forests and sometimes open ground in Greece and the former Yugoslavia often near sea level in open woodland and low mountain pastures growing with Crocus biflorus, Corydalis cava and Scilla biflora on rocky limestome slopes of scrub, possibly an intermediate between H. odorus and H. orientalis) (Acaulescent) The apple-green flowers 5-7cms across are usually flattish or saucer shaped, and are occasionally scented. Up to 7 flowers are carried on widely branched stems. Needs a sheltered position in full sun for best flowers but will grow happily in slight shade but dislikes heavy shade. Less hardy than other acaulescent types and foliage tends to die back in winter. Enjoys a rich deep loam or clay of neutral Ph. 24-40cm Used by some breeders to produce seedlings with yellow flower colour. (10-16ins)

Helleborus dumetorum (The Balkans)

Found in woods and fields, occasionally flat sites but generally close to streams, bass of rocky slopes and large colonies with Anemone nemerosa, Galanthus nivalis, Ajuga reptans and Fritillaria meleagris. Tall summer vegetation often protects foliage from bright sunshine, although needs good spring and early summer sun to produce next seasons flower buds. Occasionally through Betula or Carpinus woodland ) (Acaulescent) The small cone shaped, greenish-white flowers produced in February and march are followed by attractive, slender divided foliage with ten to thirteen hairless leaflets. (Smallest of all Hellebore flowers). A deciduous hellebore of great charm and very frost hardy. Grows best in a rich, well-drained soil in an open position, but tolerates both shade and drought. Prefers a lighter soil than other similar species 20-30cm (8-12ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii

(Helleborus niger x Helleborus x sternii ) (previously known as H. nigristern after Eric Smith) A very beautiful hardy hybrid, forming an evergreen bushy plant with attractive, grey-green occasionally marbled foliage. The clusters of large ivory-white flowers, flushed pinkish-bronze or green, deepen with age. Requires a sunny position in a rich soil, preferably moist yet free-draining. Can also be grown in a pot. Typically flowers from December to March 35cm (15ins)

Selected named forms include x ericsmithii: 'Ice Breaker® Marlon'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Champion'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Joker'℗, 'Ice Brealer® Monte Christo®'℗, 'HGC Pink Frost'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Shooting Star®'℗, 'Ice Breaker® Malory'℗ From Heuger in Germany

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Angel Glow’

This vigorous, yet compact hellebore is an x ericsmithii hybrid. It produces plenty of pink buds from late December which open to reveal light pink flowers of varying shades that fade through to light green with age. These are attractively displayed above glaucous, blue-green evergreen foliage. 30-40cm (12-16ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Champion' (Winter’s Bliss)

Large, creamy white blooms age to dark pink Mid-Jan–Mar. 38-45cm (15–18")

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Monte Cristo’

A charming hardy hybrid from the Heuger Gold Collection, forming an evergreen compact bushy plant with attractive, blue-grey foliage and red stems. It produces a profusion of creamy-white flowers, held in clusters, in late winter and early spring: these become suffused with green, peach and rose with age. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Pirouette'

A named semi evergreen sterile selection produced by tissue culture that has white blooms fading to a soft dusky pink over heavily silvered leaves. Good vigorous growth, early to flower from November to March and very prolific. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

A very beautiful hardy hybrid, forming an evergreen bushy plant with attractive pink buds that open to mid pink flowers that slowly deepen to green and deep pink tones in late winter-early spring. It has bluish-green foliage with silvery veins. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii HGC ‘Shooting Star’ (='Coseh 790')

A very beautiful hardy hybrid from the Heuger Gold Collection, forming an evergreen bushy plant with attractive, silvery-grey foliage. It produces a profusion of creamy-white flowers, held in clusters, in late Winter and early Spring: these become flushed green with age. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H. sternii) from Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Silver Moon'

A fine silver-leaved selection. Large ivory white flowers, flushed pinkish-bronze or green, deepening as they mature. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Walberton's Ivory Prince'

H. ‘Ivory Prince‘ was bred by David Tristram, son of Major Guy Tristan (who gave a Helleborus seedling to Hilda Davenport-Jones who had a nursery at nearby Washfield, Kent. The seedling was named Helleborus niger ‘Potter’s Wheel’) in 1995 at his Walberton Nursery in England.  The parents are according to the plant patent unknown but are hybrids of the species niger, x nigercors, and x ericsmithii.  The legal cultivar name is ‘Walhelivor’. This superb introduction has a profusion of ivory white flowers produced early in the season. Attractive marbled foliage. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Winter Sunshine'

A named selection that pink flowers flushed with white, which fade to red, from December through to early spring. Good compact growth with attractive deep steel grey foliage which remains all year. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Winter Moonbeam'

A named selection that has white blooms fading to a soft dusky-pink. Good vigorous growth, early to flower and very prolific. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus foetidus AGM

(Stinking Hellebore or Bear’s Foot) (Western Europe, Portugal to Hungary and Britain, from sea level to 7000ft amongst Fagus and Carpinus and mixed Pinus sp. woodland, often limestone derived soils with Cyclamen hederifolium and Hedera species) (Caulescent) (Cross fertile and very variable) An architectural evergreen plant with dark green leathery, divided leaves. The clusters of hanging green flowers edged with purple-brown last from January through to June. A tough native plant that is easy to grow. Prefers light to partial shade in an alkaline or neutral soil that is not too dry, with plenty of added humus. Will thrive in almost any spot in the garden and can be very drought tolerant. The only care needed is to remove old faded flower stems to keep the plant young and vigorous and allow space for new flowering stems to develop. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus ‘Bowles’

An older strain originating from Italy and grown at Middleton House with finely divided leaves similar to H. f. ‘Italian Form’ 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus ‘Gold Bullion’

Distinctive chartreuse-green foliage, golden when young. Avoid full in the middle of the day to prevent scorching. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus 'Miss Jekyll'

A first rate selection, valued for its purple-lipped green flowers which have a delicate perfume. Our native 'stinking hellebore' is so named as the foliage gives off an odour, but only when crushed! 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus 'Ruth'

Elegant leaves, turning very dark green, forming a wonderful contrast to the bright green flowers. Introduced by Will McLewin. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus Wester Flisk Group

This is a superb form, originally found at a site on the banks of the river Tay in Scotland. The leaves are greyish-green, almost lead-like in colour with deep purple-red stems and leaf stalks. Our native 'stinking hellebore' is so named as the foliage gives off an odour, but only when crushed! 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus foetidus 'Yellow Wilgenbroek'

Excellent garden plant with new growth flushed yellow maturing to green. Avoid full sun in the middle of the day to prevent scorching. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus x glandorfensis HGC ‘Ice n' Roses 'Red'® This stunning interspecies hybrid from Germany is prized for its spectacular display of large, forward-facing ruby-red flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.orientalis) from the Heuger Gold Collection combining the best characteristics of its parents. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x glandorfensis HGC ‘Ice n' Roses' Rose'®

This stunning interspecies hybrid from Germany is prized for its spectacular display of large, forward-facing rose-purple flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.orientalis) from the Heuger Gold Collection, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x glandorfensis HGC ‘Ice n' Roses' White'®

This stunning interspecies hybrid from Germany is prized for its spectacular display of large, forward-facing ruby-red flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. An excellent subject for a patio pot. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.orientalis) from the Heuger Gold Collection, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus hercegovinus (Bosnia, Montenegro)

Native to Bosnia, Montenegro, the Adriatic coastal mountains and neighbouring Albania, this species grows in light oak forests, grasslands and on rocky hillsides at an altitude of up to 1,600 metres. Possibly belonging to belonging to the Helleborus multifidus species. The young, brown-coloured leaves are hairy on the undersides and divided into 45 to 100 segments per leaf. The individual segments are frequently only up to 6 mm across. This makes Helleborus hercegovinus a very attractive ornamental foliage plant, Good foliage plant although looses its leaves in Winter. The flowers are green to yellowish green with a diameter of 4-5 cm. They appear between March and April in the wild and as early as February in cultivation. A good plant for a sunny position.

Helleborus x hybridus (Ashwood Garden Hybrids)

THese hybrids are the work of Kevin Belcher spanning more han twentyfive years. All results are simply stunning and in recent years Kevin has evolved a superb strain which has seen the very besy of his recent yellows hybridised ever further to give the Evolution strain which was show at the Chelsea in 2018 and helped the nursery gain A gold medal and the Presidents award. They will continue to evolve and be improved and new selections will be introducedas seed raised selections and along side these a limited number have been micro propagated to enable plants to be sold thoughout the year with the certaintity of know exectly what these named cultivars will offer even when not in flower.

Helleborus istriacus (Croatia)

Native to northwest Croatia and northeast Italy, where it grows in light shade, and in open woodland. The leaves can be subdivided in ten to sixteen segments. This species sheds its leaves in the winter. Flowers appear from April through May, the green blooms can be slightly dotted or feature darker areas. The plants are very tolerant of cold temperatures.

Helleborus x lemonnierae HGC ‘Madame Lemonnier’ (=Lem100

This stunning interspecies hybrid from Germany is notable for its beautiful display of enormous, forward-facing pink flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. An excellent subject for a patio pot. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.x hybridus) from Heuger of Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x lemonnierae HGC ‘Paradenia’ (=Coseh 960)

This stunning interspecies hybrid from Germany is notable for its beautiful display of large, forward-facing white flowers with a central boss of yellow stamens, borne on tall stems over a long period above robust evergreen foliage. An excellent subject for a patio pot. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H.x hybridus) from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus liguricus (Italy)

This species was not discovered until 2000 and described in 2006. It is descended from a population in northern Italy, not far from the Ligurian and Tuscan coasts. This is a recently named species, separated from boccanei by Thomsen/Mclewin. It is scented having a light “mahonia/lemon” smell in sunshine. The flowers are white to greenish white. Two variants exist which flower at slightly different times. It is hardy and a good grower. Worth growing in the garden for a scent on sunny February-April days. It bears large flowers that are very pale greenish white which are held well above the foliage.

Helleborus lividus AGM (Majorca)

A tender, but very beautiful evergreen Hellebore. The deep green, glossy leaves, red underneath, are marbled with grey and conspicuous silvery-cream veins. Elegant cream-green cup shaped flowers, flushed pinkish-purple are borne in clusters. An excellent container plant for a conservatory or cold greenhouse during winter, requiring open, well-drained gritty compost. Plunge outside in a semi-shaded position for the summer. 38cm (15ins)

Helleborus lividus 'Pink Marble'

A tender but attractive introduction with richly marbled leaves in tones of green, pink, & silver to give year-round interest to any shady spot, & is particularly charming in Winter, when flowering canes emerge with mauve-pink & green flowers than nod downward to protect the plant’s pollen from wind & rain. Both leaves & flowers are supported by deep pink stems. it is tolerant of neglect, poor soil. 38cm (15ins)

Helleborus lividus ‘Purple Ear’

A tender, but very beautiful evergreen Hellebore. Elegant cream-green cup shaped flowers, flushed pinkish-purple are borne in clusters. 38cm (15ins)

Helleborus lividus ‘White Marble’

A tender, but very beautiful evergreen hellebore, lovely in a cold conservatory or cold porch. Elegant cream-green cup shaped flowers, flushed pinkish-purple are borne in clusters, displayed againgst attractive foliage that is marbled white.  An excellent container plant for a conservatory or cold greenhouse during winter, requiring an open, well-drained gritty compost. Plunge outside in a semi-shaded position for the summer. 38cm (15ins)

Helleborus x HCG® ‘Mahogany Snow’

A true harbinger of spring with late February through April bloom featuring large, creamy white flowers that are dusted light pink on the petal undersides. As the flowers age they continue to deepen to mahogany pink. The compact habit is superb, and its evergreen foliage is accented by red stems. The earliest perennial to bloom in the landscape. Long lasting, colour changing blooms are breath-taking. Superb evergreen foliage. Wonderful when used singly or in groups. Deer resistant.

Helleborus multifidus (Croatia, Italy)

A very variable deciduous species, with green flowers that may either be rounded or star-shaped and are faintly scented of Ribes that most now accept as three different species. Previously contained Helleborus multifidus subsp. multifidus (Croatia) Leaves generally divided with between 20-45 segments. Helleborus multifidus subsp. bocconei (Southern Italy) The most garden worthy plant within this species, being more vigorous and having larger flowers.Helleborus multifidus subsp. istriacus (North Eastern Italy) Leaves with fewer divisions, between 10-14 segments.

Helleborus niger Switzerland, Austria Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia

Helleborus niger is an evergreen plant with dark leathery pedate leaves carried on stems 9–12 in (23–30 cm) tall. The large flat flowers, borne on short stems from midwinter to early spring, are generally white, but occasionally purple or pink. The tips of the petals may be flushed pink or green, and there is a prominent central boss of yellow.

The black hellebore was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The Latin specific name niger (black) may refer to the colour of the roots. There are two subspecies: H. niger niger and H. niger macranthus, which has larger flowers (up to 3.75 in/9 cm across). In the wild, H. niger niger is generally found in mountainous areas in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and northern Italy. Helleborus niger macranthus is found only in northern Italy and possibly adjoining parts of Slovenia.

Helleborus niger Ashwood Strain

The Christmas Rose. A very popular and beautiful evergreen plant, not easy to establish in the garden. This selection has well formed, cup-shaped rounded flowers of purest white and strong stems. Grows best in semi-shade, planted in a deeply cultivated, moist but fairly well-drained stony soil, with added humus. Try it against a wall or close to an evergreen shrub. 15-20cm (6-8ins).

Helleborus niger Ashwood Marbled form

A new selection with evergreen green leaves that have a delicate silver marbling. Also featuring our well formed, cup-shaped rounded flowers of purest white and strong stems from our Ashwood Strain.

Helleborus niger Ashwood Pink form

Our newest introduction of this very popular and beautiful evergreen plant. This selection has well formed, cup-shaped rounded pale pink flowers with a dark central flush.

Helleborus niger 'Christmas Carol'

This lovely selection of Helleborus niger produces a mass of pure white, cup-shaped flowers above dark evergreen foliage, appearing from around Christmas time until early Spring (weather depending). It is lovely in a sheltered spot in the garden or can be used in a patio pot, bringing it into a cold porch or conservatory in winter to enjoy the blooms at close quarters. 15-20cm

Helleborus niger ‘Harvington Hybrids’

A vigorous large flowered strain from Liz and Hugh Nunn.

Helleborus niger 'Harvington Hybrids' Double

A very popular and beautiful evergreen plant, not easy to establish in the garden. A vigorous large white double flowered strain from Liz and Hugh Nunn. 15-20cm (6-8ins)

Helleborus HGC ‘Jasper’ = 'Coseh 1010' (PBR)

Dazzling white flowers with a delightful yellow centre, above rich dark green foliage. 60 x60cm (24x 24ins) From the Heuger Gold Collection in Germany.

Helleborus HGC niger ‘Jacob’

Very early flowering variety which produces gorgeous single white flowers. Flowering from mid November through to January. Sun or partial shade preferred. Any well drained soil

Helleborus HGC niger ‘Jesko’

Has large flowers with overlapping petals forming a lovely cupped shape. The flowers are produced in great numbers from late November or early December making it perfect for Christmas decoration inside the house and in the garden. Rich, dark green foliage and a compact habit.

Helleborus niger HGC ‘Josef Lemper' PP 15,615

This improved form of Helleborus niger comes from the German breeding program of Joseph Heuger. Helleborus 'HGC Josef Lemper' is a tissue-cultured hellebore clone selected for its upright habit and longer flowering period which can begin as early asOctober, and continues until February. The large white flowers are typical for Helleborus niger. Well-drained soils and sheltered positions are very important for success with Helleborus niger.

Helleborus niger Marion Group

A selected double flowered seedling mentioned in the RHS plant database and in an article in The Garden 2001. Not apparently being offered for sale any more.

Helleborus niger ‘Potter’s Wheel’

Since the 1950s, 'Potter's Wheel' has been one of the most famous names associated with H. niger. It originated with a self-sown seedling given by Major G. H. Tristram of Dallington, Sussex, to Hilda Davenport-Jones who had a nursery at nearby Washfield, Kent. The seedling proved to be exceptionally large-flowered, but it was too slow-growing to be 'bulked up' quickly, so she propagated it as a rigorously-selected uniform seed strain rather than as a vegetatively propagated cultivar. Sadly, all the resulting selections were very susceptible to disease and by the mid 1970’s cross breeding by nurseries meant most stocks of H. niger were infected and proved difficult to grow leading to a decline in stock and popularity of the Christmas Rose.

Helleborus niger HGC ‘Snowfrills’ (=Coseh 230)

This superb selection of H. x niger is notable for its beautiful display of large double white flowers, reliably produced as early as December in favourable conditions. Attractive dark green evergreen foliage. Plant close to the house to enjoy during the winter months. An excellent subject for a patio pot. A  superb robust selected clone of H. x niger  from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany.

Helleborus x nigercors AGM

(Helleborus niger and Helleborus argutifolius first exhibited in 1931 by J E H Stooke) (Flowers Caulescent and Aculescent) (Propagate by division in autumn or micropropagation) A very beautiful hybrid and an excellent evergreen, garden plant. Large ivory, flattish flowers with just a hint of green. The long-lasting clusters are borne in such profusion that you may need to trim off a few leaves to see all the flowers. Prefers a sunny position in a fairly rich soil, which is moist but free-draining. 35cm (15ins).

Helleborus x nigercors ‘Alabaster’

Raised at Washfield Nurseries using H. n. ‘Potters Wheel’ as seed parent

Helleborus x nigercors ‘Blackthorn Strain’

A seed strain raised each year with flowers either pure white or green and white

Helleborus x nigercors 'Candy Love'

(Winter Magic Series) - Candy Love Lenten Rose. Lenten Roses have handsome bold evergreen leaves and showy single flowers in very early spring. They are beautiful in all seasons, one of the mainstays of a shade garden. 'Candy Love' from Belgian breeder Thierry van Paemel, this a compact introduction in the Winter Magic Series that has large upright pastel flowers becoming green tinged as they mature.

Helleborus x nigercors 'Emma'

A named selection with masses of creamy-white flowers held above the compact greyish-green foliage. Long flowering from December to March. 35cm (15ins).

Helleborus x nigercors HGC ‘Ice Breaker’ Max (=Coseh 750)

This sturdy hybrid from Germany is gorgeous both in leaf and in flower. It forms a low mound of large, leathery, evergreen, green leaves. Large outward facing single creamy-white flowers, with a slight greenish tinge, appear in early spring. An interspecies hybrid (H.niger and H.argutifolius) from the Heuger Gold Collection of Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents.

Helleborus x nigercors 'Snow Love'

A named selection with a profusion of creamy-pink blooms fading to chocolate above green foliage that is red veined. Long flowering from December to March. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus niger 'Verboom Beauty'

This beautiful selection of Helleborus niger bears a profusion of pure white, cup-shaped flowers above dark evergreen foliage, produced from around Christmas time until early Spring (weather depending). It is lovely in a sheltered spot in the garden or can be used in a patio pot, bringing it into a cold porch or conservatory in winter to enjoy the blooms at close quarters. 15-20cm (6-8ins)

Helleborus occidentalis

Some classify this Helleborus species as one of two subspecies of Helleborus viridis, namely Helleborus viridis subsp. viridis and Helleborus viridis subsp. occidentalis. McLevin and Brian Mathew believe these species to be two species of their own. Helleborus occidentalis is native in western Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and England, where it thrives in deciduous forests along with Anemone, Aquilegia, Arum, Lamium and Primula. It has been introduced and naturalised in other countries as well, maybe because in former times it was used in medical applications. The light green leaves of this acaulescent species are divided into 13 segments. Unlike the leaves of Helleborus viridis, those of Helleborus occidentalis are smooth and hairless on the undersides and coarsely toothed along the margins. The leaves turn brown in the autumn and die down. The dark green flowers appear in March and April.

Helleborus odorus (Balkans)

A showy, easily grown, early flowering hellebore. Large green flowers, 5-7cm in diameter, often smelling of blackcurrants and tend to be outward facing. The new foliage is often covered with silvery hairs. Prefers a rich soil in either partial shade or full sun. 50cm (20ins)

Helleborus orientalis subsp. abchasicus (Russia - West Caucasus)

This hardy subspecies is easy to grow, free-flowering and long-lived. Flowers generally mulberry purple and the foliage can be almost deciduous. 30-45cm (12-18ins)

Helleborus orientalis subsp. abchasicus ‘Early Purple’

An excellent garden hybrid, easy, robust and trouble-free. Long-lasting plum-coloured flowers appear as early as December. An old variety but still worthy of a place in the garden.

Helleborus HGC ‘Pink Frost’ =Coseh 710

A compact, bushy evergreen interspecies hybrid from the Heuger Gold Collection, with marbled, sometimes veined foliage. A profusion of cream flowers, held in clusters and beautifully flushed with various shades of pink, appear from January to March. An interspecies hybrid (H. niger and H. lividus)) from Germany, combining the best characteristics of its parents. 50cm (20ins)

Helleborus purpurascens (Balkans)

This is one of the compact non-evergreen Helleborus species. It grows naturally in north-western Romania, eastern Hungary, western Ukraine, eastern Slovenia and in the southeast of Poland. Helleborus purpurascens is a true forest plant and thrives in light woodlands and on the edges of forests, preferably in limy soils at altitudes of up to 650 metres. A charming, subtle hellebore. The cup-shaped flowers are generally lilac-mauve and often green within and produced in March and April in the wild but earlier in cultivation. The attractive foliage is divided and more palmate. 10-25cms (8-12ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Anna's Red'

An evergreen inter-species hybrid bearing a profusion of red flowers from February to April. In spring marbled foliage emerges, flushed pink when young. All cultivars within this group are characterised by a profusion of large, forward-facing blooms and marbled foliage: all are tough and easy to grow. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Charmer'

This lovely interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing speckled blooms of an intense pink with a huge central boss of stamens together with beautiful marbled evergreen foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Cheryl's Shine'

This lovely interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing blooms of shining pink with a huge central boss of stamens together with beautiful evergreen marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. An interspecies hybrid belonging to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Dana's Dulcet'

This outstanding interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It bears a profusion of large, sterile, forward-facing violet purple blooms, probably the darkest of this group, with a huge central boss of stamens. They are borne on tall stems above beautiful evergreen marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Glenda's Gloss'

This distinctive interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It produces masses of large white and violet-purple bicoloured flowers, with a huge central boss of stamens, during winter and early spring. They are borne on tall stems above beautiful evergreen silver-veined and marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Molly's White'

A named selection that has wonderful white flowers that turn to lime green with age from December through to early spring. Sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. Attractive compact growth with green foliage which remains all year. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Moondance'

This charming interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing pure white blooms, often with a lime-green flush to the base of the petals, and with a huge central boss of stamens. They are borne on tall stems above beautiful evergreen silver-veined and marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Penny's Pink'

An evergreen inter-species hybrid bearing a profusion of pink flowers from February to April. In spring marbled foliage emerges, flushed pink when young. 30-35cm (15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Pippa's Purple'

This outstanding interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing pinkish purple blooms, with a huge central boss of stamens. They are borne on tall stems above beautiful evergreen silver-veined and marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Reanna's Ruby'

This stunning interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing ruby red blooms, delicately spotted, with a huge central boss of stamens. They are borne on tall stems above beautiful evergreen marbled foliage, speckled burgundy, which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) 'Sally's Shell'

This lovely interspecies hybrid belongs to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group and is sister to Anna's Red and Penny's Pink. It bears a profusion of large, forward-facing shell pink blooms, paler towards the middle, together with a huge central boss of stamens together with beautiful evergreen marbled foliage which intensifies in colour in spring and early summer. An interspecies hybrid belonging to the Rodney Davey Marbled Group. 30-35cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus × sahinii ‘Winter Bells’
 
 The first hybrid cross of the Christmas Rose (H. niger) and Stinking Hellebore (H. foetidus). Prolific very early, winter bloomer. It features leathery, dark green foliage, cinnamon flower stalks topped with cream to dusky-pink, round, pendant flowers. Very unique. Great in containers for winter decor. New from Hilverdakooij who are introducing four interspecific crosses including H. x sahinii 'Winterbelles' and the H. 'Glamour' series

Helleborus x 'Snow White' (Helleborus niger x Helleborus orientalis)

A stunning free-flowering hybrid producing a profusion of star-shaped ivory white flowers over a very long period. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus 'HGC ‘Spring Party' PPAF

Beautifully mottled deep green foliage with silvery veins complements the soft white flowers of this new selection. The outward facing, 2 ½-3” blossoms start to bloom in February and last through until april, perfect timing for Easter and spring sales. As they mature, the flowers transition from white to green. This variety is a strong grower, forming a compact clump that looks great in containers and in the garden.

Helleborus x sternii

Helleborus argutifolius and H. lividus of the Chenopus section, can be crossed either way to give H. x sternii, named after Sir Fredrick Stern in whose garden it originated. It has given rise to many desirable strains. It must be remembered that H. lividus is not very hardy while H. argutifolius only slightly hardier coming from Crete and Corsica respectively.

Helleborus x sternii Aberconwy Strain

A half-hardy hellebore, best in a very sheltered, sunny, well-drained position or try it under the canopy of a needle conifer e.g. pine or cedar. A selection of H. x sternii by Aberconwy Nurseries. Silver leaved form with distinct and conspicuously toothed leaf margins and small deep pink-green cup-shaped flowers.

Helleborus x sternii Ashwood Strain

Ashwood’s beautiful improved strain has been produced after several years of reselection and breeding. Lovely greyish-green marbled leaves are conspicuously toothed. The small green cup-shaped flowers are flushed-pink. A slightly tender plant, best in a sheltered, sunny, well-drained position. We find it performs best under the canopy of a needle conifer e.g. pine or cedar. 30-40cm (12-15ins)

Helleborus x sternii Ashwood Platinum Strain

A half-hardy hellebore, best in a very sheltered, sunny, well-drained position or try it under the canopy of needle conifers e.g. pine or cedar. A silver leaved form of our beautiful strain of H. x sternii. Keeping the distinct and conspicuously toothed leaf margins with small deep pink-green cup-shaped flowers.

Helleborus x sternii Beatrice Le Blanc Strain

An Ashwood introduction that flourishes in John’s garden underneath a large cedar.Excellent vigorous form with purple stems and pewter foliage. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus x sternii Boughton Beauty Strain

Another compact strain with fine slate-grey foliage, stained red underneath. Dark red stems, and flowers flushed with purplish-pink. 45cm (18ins)

Helleborus x sternii ’Bulmers Blush’

Narrow marbled leaves red stems and chartreuse flowers aging to dusky pink, raised by Mrs Bulmer from seedlings sold at plant fair and introduced by Ashwood Nurseries

Helleborus x sternii ‘Honeyhill Joy’

Raised by Jim & Audrey Metcalfe in Oregon, micro propagated by Terra Nova for commercial release a most striking plant with good vigour. Grey green leaves and numerous cream blooms

Helleborus x sternii 'Silver Dollar'

Quite outstanding with bright silver serrated leaves and small green cup-shaped flowers flushed with pink. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus thibetanus (Sichaun, China)

From China, more specifically from the rain forests in the provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi, Hubei and Sichuan, where it can be found at altitudes of 1,100 to 3,700 metres. This means that geographically speaking, this species if fully isolated from any other Helleborus species. he soft leaves of this caulescent species are divided into eight to ten serrate leaflets. It is vulnerable to late frosts, because is develops fast in spring, although it is a fairly slow grower.

Damaged flower stems can collapse and die completely. The delicate looking pale pink veined flowers are bell -shaped and borne in clusters. The conspicuous large bracts have an almost silvery sheen. The deciduous foliage dies down rapidly by the end of July. Require plenty of moisture in the growing season. The seedlings emerge without any cotyledon. 30-50cm (12-20ins)

Helleborus torquatus (Fomer Yugoslavia)

origin in light woodlands or the edges of forests in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia. The plants even thrive on loamy, muddy soil near streams. The slightly circular leaves of this acaulescent species can have between 12 and 80 leaflets. The leaves are not evergreen. They are hairy on the undersides, and can reach a diameter of up to 45 cm.  

A very variable deciduous species. The flowers can be saucer-shaped and outward facing, to nodding and rather conical. The colour varies from green to dark violet-black, sometimes with a greyish bloom. Inside the flower colour may be same, or occasionally veined with purple. The attractive foliage is deeply divided, and generally pedate. A fine garden plant, slow but easy to grow. 20-40cms (8-16ins)

Helleborus vesicarius (Southern Turkey)

Small pendent, bell-shaped flowers, green with a reddish-brown overlay; followed by large inflated seed heads. species populates rocky, debris-covered slopes in the very hot and dry coastal regions of northern Syria and southern Turkey. It has been found at altitudes of 550 to 1,500 metres and in clearances in dry woodland on loamy soil. Helleborus vesicarius goes through a Mediterranean growth cycle with the main growing period in the autumn and winter and a dormant season in the dry and hot summer. It needs to be pot-grown, using an open, free-draining compost, and should be kept in a greenhouse or cold frame during summer. It requires plenty of water when it is actively growing (from autumn to spring), but as the leaves die off, watering should be gradually be reduced. Once the plant is dormant, it should not be watered at all until growth resumes in autumn. From autumn onwards, it can go outside in its pot as it is completely frost hardy.

When raising new plants from seed, initially only the seed leaves (= cotyledons) can be seen. The primary shoot (= plumule) remains in the soil as it grows larger. During dormancy in the summer, the seed leaves above ground-level die; the primary leaves develop later from the plumule in the moist conditions of autumn. In general, Helleborus versicarius seedlings take four to six years from seed to flower. Definitely only a plant for the enthusiast! Very limited availability. 45-60cm (18-24ins)

Helleborus ‘Walberton's Rosemary’ 'Walhero' (Helleborus niger x Helleborus orientalis)

A first-rate introduction very free-flowering, producing a profusion of star-shaped pink flowers over a very long period. 35cm (15ins)

Helleborus virdis (Europe)

The distribution of this Helleborus subspecies stretches from southeast France, Switzerland, north Italy and south Germany to Austria. According to Rice & Strangman (1993), this species has two subspecies: Helleborus viridis subsp. viridis and Helleborus viridis subsp. occidentalis.

Will McLevin and Brian Mathew assume that these are two species of their own. The Green hellebore prefers fresh, limy, humic and friable stony soils and loam soils in shaded deciduous tree woodlands. It grows at an altitude of up to 1,100 metres. A charming deciduous, native species with dark green nodding flowers (3.5cm diameter), which appear in clusters on long stems just above the foliage. Best planted in a semi-shaded position in a heavy, humus enriched soil, which does not dry out. 20-40cm (8-16ins)

Helleborus virdis subsp. occidentalis (Europe)

Formerly a sub-species of H. viridis but now recognised as a species in its own right. Dark green nodding flowers (3.5cm diameter) which appear in clusters on long stems. Smaller in stature than H. viridis with distinctively divided and serrated deciduous foliage, and having a more westerly distribution. Best planted in a semi-shaded position in a heavy, humus enriched soil, which does not dry out. 20-30cm (8-12ins)

 

The Heuger of Germany Helleborus Gold Collection® includes only varieties that are especially robust and precious. These varieties have all passed strict selection criteria and trials conducted in various locations and climates over several years. They excel in key properties needed in garden plants such as longevity, robust plant health, and of course floriferousness.

The Helleborus Gold Collection® consists of the following three groups of varieties:

-     the classic white Christmas Roses, which includes some varieties that start blooming as early as November;

-     the colourful Lenten Roses in the Spring Promise® series that flower in early spring. Some varieties, such as Spring Promise® Elly, are in bloom as early as December.

-     the robust, free-flowering Snow Roses, whose flowering season stretches from December to March. A newcomer this year is Ice N' Roses®, a very special Snow Rose beauty. Its masses of giant blooms in vivid red, pink and white create a blaze of colour from December until well into April.

January 2019. Not to be used, copied in part or full by any means without prior permission

 

© 2019 Howard Drury, Ashwood Nurseries, Heuger Gold Collection and others

Website www.thedrurys.com

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Parent Category: Gardening Fact Sheets
Category: Fact Sheets 2019
Last Updated: 02 February 2019
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