Pink hellebore flower

Sweet Spots

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Part of the charm of hellebores comes from the variety of markings and colourings on the petals. The two flowers photographed here came from a friend’s garden. At first glance they look like they might be the same flower, but take a closer look and you can see small differences.

The top flower has larger, more diffuse spots that merge with the dark veining of the petals. You can see that the hellebore at the bottom has smaller specks of crimson that don’t obscure the petal’s veins as much. Tiny differences, but they add a lot to the appeal of a group of hellebores growing together.

A very similar hellebore is this little spotty one from my own garden. As the flowers on my plant get older, they become a lot paler than the flowers here. (EDIT: I’ve added a photo of the stages of this hellebore in my garden, so that you can see what I mean. The flower on the left side is darker when newly opened but will become a bit lighter as it develops.)

Pink-spotted hellebore flowers.
Three stages of a flower – you can see how much darker the newly-opened flower on the left is.

It will be interesting to see if any seedlings develop from it and the other hellebores growing nearby because they’re all quite different from each other. Maybe I’ll eventually have a family of related plants that have interesting variations like the hellebores in these photos.

Pink hellebore flower
From a friend’s garden: a pretty pink hellebore flushed with tiny crimson spots.

13 thoughts on “Sweet Spots

    1. These are hybrids (Helleborus x hybridus) – apparently there has been so much cross-pollination over the years that parentage of plants has become uncertain. (There are several species too, including some interesting green-flowered plants, but they’re less common.)


  1. I wonder if all that breeding and crossing is the reason your flowers become pale as they age. Could it be akin to what I’ve heard about fruit trees and other grafted plants reverting to the original root stock in time? I know so little about how all that works, but I do remember reading about plants “reverting to type.” In any event, these are quite pretty. I still haven’t met one in person, but maybe some day I will. When I do, I’ll know all about them, thanks to you.

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    1. I think the flowers on that particular plant just get a bit paler as the petals (which are really sepals) develop and expand fully. Others don’t seem to get paler. But I think that if there are chance seedlings that there’s a good chance of them being a sort of dusky pinky/purple because I do see a lot of hellebores grown from seed that are that colour. So maybe that’s a sort of reversion? Or maybe there’s just a lot of the genes for that colouring around? I don’t know, but it’s a very intriguing thing to wonder about! 🙂 (EDIT: I’ve since added a pic of my spotty hellebore that shows the different stages – the darker newly-opened flower and the paler fully-opened one.)


  2. They are really both beautiful. Funny how plants and flowers take on different and sometimes very dramatic appearances once they are no longer fresh. It will be interesting to see how these go as they mature and go paler. Will you be photographing their transition?

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    1. The one in my own garden gets a bit paler as the flower opens properly from the bud, probably simply because the flower is getting bigger at this stage. It then turns more greenish when the flower is going over. Others can go a much darker colour as they go over, as the new one I’ve just bought does. (You’ll see a picture of that one in my next post.) I wonder if this could be because they’re not really petals but sepals, which are normally more leaf-like than ordinary petals.


    2. I realised that I had a photo that showed what I meant, so I edited the post to add it. It lets you see how the flower of my spotty hellebore starts off darker when it’s newly opened….handy that I already had it! 🙂


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