The University Gardens

A True Christmas Flower

It is almost unbelievable that the Christmas rose can grow and flower in the middle of the dark period of the year with just a few plus degree temperatures.

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Normally, you rarely find species of the Christmas rose (the genus Helleborus) flowering at Christmas time as the name indicates. But this year, a Christmas rose near the Heather Garden has been flowering all through December. The plant is not a pure species, but one of the many hybrids of the genus Helleborus. The species and the natural hybrids among these show great variation, and it is therefore difficult to determine their names correctly. The Christmas rose that we have at Milde is registered as Helleborus purpurascens, but this pure species would probably have had more serrated and slender leaves than the one that grows near the Heather Garden.


Another species name that has been used for this early Christmas rose is Helleborus atrorubens, but the correct name is probably Helleborus x hybridus ‘ Early purple’, as suggested by one hellebore expert.


The mild autumnal weather we have had in 2011 has prompted this Christmas rose to flower already in late November, and it is now full of buds that will open up as soon as it gets milder over Christmas and onwards.