Lenten-rose - Helleborus orientalis


Helleborus orientalis grows to a height of about 30 cm and has large, saucer shaped flowers, mostly 5 - 7mm across, in a variety of colours including white, pink, plum, purple, bluish or yellow-green, often with crimson speckles.  Fruits (follicles) are shortly stalked and free to the base, not fused.

This is one of many cultivated plants that escapes into the wild and persists, at least for a time.  Cultivated plants represent a complex groups of segregates, varieties and hybrids, so there is great variety in the appearance of the plants.

Similar Species

Helleborus viridis is similar, but with smaller flowers, always pale-green, and with sessile fruits that are partly fused.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

A photo of the whole plant in its habitat


Usually found as an escape from cultivation, and often close to habitation.

When to see it

Flowers in early spring.

Life History

Herbaceous perennial, sometimes evergreen.

UK Status

Seems to be quite widespread in Britain as an escape from cultivation.

VC55 Status

Rarely recorded in the wild in Leicestershire and Rutland. It was not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire, and is not listed in the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011).

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map