Jan 17th, 2013

Knockout Blooms: Stinking Hellebore


by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 

Helleborus foetidus; stinking hellebore

Helleborus foetidus; stinking hellebore

I’m tired of all this rain! To be honest, I can’t remember if it has been 3- or 5-days straight now.  But, you know, the plants don’t seem to mind it too much. During a break in showers yesterday I snuck out of my office (and around several huge. 4-inch-deep puddles) and noticed that the Helleborus foetidus, stinking hellebore, are starting to bloom, and boy to we have alot of them! They add great texture and color to our woodland gardens, and you’ll find them all over Flagler Perennial Garden woodland paths.

You might be able to see a slight resemblance to the buttercup here in the photo. They are in the same family — Ranunculaceae.   It’s called a stinking hellebore, not because the flowers smell, but because if you crush the leaves they give off an unpleasant odor. Or at least that’s what they say. I haven’t tried it yet!  I think they’d look really pretty in the snow, so if the rain changes over tonight, maybe you’ll get a chance to see it. If not, plan to visit us in the next few weeks. You don’t want to miss the stinking hellebore, and your friend will be entertained when you share a photo of such a funny named plant on your Facebook page.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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