Helleborus

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gertrude

  • Jr. Member
Helleborus
« on: December 06, 2018, 10:10:03 PM »
Can someone explain the difference between Helleborus niger and orientalis,  as in my view they appear to be one and the same.
Pete and Jan. Retired 15 years ago and moved to Le Marche, Italy for the peace and quiet of the countryside and more sunshine, where gardening became a challenge.  We now have a lovely garden with an eclectic selection of plants including many wild flowers of which we are found of..

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Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Helleborus niger and orientalis differences
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2018, 09:33:07 AM »
Helleborus niger's flowers are normally a clear waxy white and almost always single on each strongly upright stem, with undivided bracts. H. orientalis flowers are more often coloured, and often several to a rather weaker stem. I'm sure there are other differences too.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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gertrude

  • Jr. Member
Re: Helleborus
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 09:40:49 AM »
Thanks for that,  its saved me from a few embarrassing moments.  You may see why when you read the  next Plant of the Month on our FB page.
Pete and Jan. Retired 15 years ago and moved to Le Marche, Italy for the peace and quiet of the countryside and more sunshine, where gardening became a challenge.  We now have a lovely garden with an eclectic selection of plants including many wild flowers of which we are found of..

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JTh

  • Hero Member
Re: Helleborus
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 02:47:01 PM »
Your reply describes the differences very well, Alisdair, I found another, more detailed one at http://www.grahamrice.com/hellebore/species/niger/index.html , which said: 'To the botanist the features which distinguish H. niger from other species are the undivided bracts, the noticeably prominent elaiosome on the seeds which anyone sowing fresh seed will have noticed and the smooth pollen grains. To the gardener the large, pure white, waxy flowers carried singly on stiff upright stems and the dark, leathery, almost untoothed foliage make it easily distinguishable.'
 
My experience is that H. niger always flowers earlier, I intended to take a photo of one in our garden (in Oslo), which has been in flower from mid-November, but I was too late, it's now covered in snow. I have only seen flowers on H. orientalis in spring here.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS and Branch website editor. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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gertrude

  • Jr. Member
Re: Helleborus
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2018, 06:20:56 PM »
Thanks everyone,  I now know that I seem to have both niger and orientalis.  Both of mine last year flowered in December,  this year they are a little tardy.  I hope I have revised my text so that there is no confusion  on our FB page.

Thanks Jorun,  found the article you found a little more informative that what I had previous read.
Pete and Jan. Retired 15 years ago and moved to Le Marche, Italy for the peace and quiet of the countryside and more sunshine, where gardening became a challenge.  We now have a lovely garden with an eclectic selection of plants including many wild flowers of which we are found of..