Sunday, December 23, 2012

Helleborus

This was available a few weeks ago at a local grocery store. It's a nice concept, since Helleborus can be planted permanently outside when it's done inside. They bloom mid winter, when very little else is blooming or growing. I have others at home.
This variety is "Jacob". I had 2 plants at work, which is warmer and more light. On those, the leaves are more faded and flowers are about done, so I planted them outside today.
Hellebores have a place in herbal tradition, as "medicine" and as a poison. I wouldn't eat them or anything made from them - they are known to be poisonous. Apparently deer and rabbits know that too, so the plants are left alone.
One of these came with the house, 11 years ago. It's in a shaded, dry spot with a fence on the north, the house on the west, and a big tree on the east. It blooms every year.

The flowers are nodding.  So you have to get down low, or have them on a retaining wall, to see the full appearance.  This illustration is nice, but I don't think it's very accurate as a depiction of the flower.
I obtain these old illustrations from sites that describe them as before 1912, so are over 100 years old. This one is by Botanical illustrator Elizabeth Blackwell.

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