Helleborus foetidus (Stinking Hellebore)

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Scientific Name

Helleborus foetidus L.

Common Names

Stinking Hellebore, Dungwort, Setterwort, Bear’s Foot

Synonyms

Helleborus foetidus subsp. foetidus

Scientific Classification

Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribe: Helleboreae
Genus: Helleborus

Flower

Color: Yellowish-green
Bloom Time: Spring

Description

Helleborus foetidus is an evergreen perennial up to 32 inches (80 cm) tall, with a thick, succulent stem and glossy leaves. The drooping, cup-shaped flowers appear in spring and are yellowish-green, often with a purple edge to the five petal-like sepals on strongly upright stems. The flowers contain numerous stamens as well as up to 10 nectaries. Each flower produces up to 5 (usually 3), wrinkled follicles.

Photo via crocus.co.uk

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 5a to 9b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

When planting from seed or division, place the Hellebore into well-draining, organic soil in a filtered sun or shady location. The Hellebore plant will return for many years; make sure the space will accommodate growth and has proper sunlight.

Hellebores need no more than a few hours of dappled light and grow successfully in shady areas. Plant the Hellebore under deciduous trees or scattered through a woodland garden or shaded natural area.

Soaking the soil in which the Hellebore is growing helps the Hellebore plant to look its best. Hellebore care includes removal of older leaves when they appear damaged. Care for Hellebores should also include careful fertilization. Too much nitrogen may result in lush foliage and a shortage of blooms.

Plant Hellebore seeds in the fall. A 60-day moist chilling period is needed when planting seeds of the Hellebore plant. Planting seed in fall allows this to happen naturally in areas with cold winters. Wait three to four years for blooms on young plants grown from seed. Divide overgrown clumps in spring, after flowering or in autumn… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Hellebores

Origin

It is native to the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor.

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