Helleborastrum

about-img1A white-spotted Hellebore, part of the National Collection
of Hellebores which can be seen in Broadview Gardens
about-img1A yellow spotted hellebore in Broadview Gardens, holder
of the National Collection of Hellebores
Helleborus X hybridus
H. X hybridus has three subspecies – orientalis which has creamy-white flowers, abchasicus with reddish-pink flowers and guttatus with spotted flowers.
Helleborus torquatus

Sometimes known as H. multifidus subsp. Serbicus, H. torquatus is a very variable plant. The purple flowers are supposed to be a distinguishing feature, but many of the plants have flowers of green, brown and purple with blue-green interiors, or occasionally all purple.

Helleborus multifidus
H. multifidus has four very variable subspecies. They are differentiated partly by the areas in which they grow, and also by the number of leaf divisions – but as older plants tend to have more finely cut leaves this is not always helpful.

Helleborus atrorubens
H. atrorubens is a small growing plant whose purple flowers are drooping and cup shaped when they first come out, rather like a small purpurascens. This species is not to be confused with H. ‘Atrorubens’ of gardens, which is now known as ‘Early Purple’ and is a much larger plant altogether

Helleborus purpurascens
H. purpurascens is extremely variable, flower colour ranging from rich purple (with deep red new leaves) through purple with green interiors, and pale mauve-pink, to dove grey. In the wild it is found in more open situations than many hellebores, often growing in alpine meadows, but it will do well in leafy soil in dappled shade.

Helleborus dumetorum
H. dumetorum is a small scale plant with green flowers and about eleven narrow leaflets. It is not often seen in gardens, probably because of its size, but would make a very pretty woodlander. It likes shade and moist leafy soil.

Helleborus odorus
H. odorus has larger flowers and broader leaflets – up to eleven in number. The flower colour varies from rich dark green to yellowish green, with occasional coppery tints. The scent varies as well, and is sometimes non-existent. Planting among deciduous trees and shrubs is advisable

Helleborus cyclophyllus
H. cyclophyllus has the largest flowers, usually green, but sometimes cream or yellow. It grows on grassy slopes or at woodland edges. This species also appreciates shelter from frosts and drying winds.