Helleborus viridis, Linnaeus (1753)
- Perennial, glabrous to slightly hairy, 8-16" in flower
- Leaves basal, pedate, serrate, 7-13 segments; not wintergreen
- Flowers green, 1.5-2" in diameter
- Austria, N. Italy, S. Germany, Switzerland, France?
- Woodland, scrub to around 3000'
Formerly grouped with Helleborus occidentalis. Helleborus viridis is not
commonly found in gardens but can be a very attractive plant. It has
similarities with H. occidentalis but occurs in a more southerly range, primarily
centered on northern Italy and the surrounding alpine regions.
It is overall a larger plant than H. occidentalis and resembles Helleborus
purpurascens in general form. Some other features that distinguish it from H.
- Flowers opening flat and initially less curved toward the tips of the
- Leaves less obviously serrate
- Leaflets divided further down near the base.
- Presence of small hairs underneath the leaflets giving the leaves a
- More elongated follicles
(From Mathew and McLewin. "Helleborus viridis", Plantsman 1:3 September
H. viridis grows in proximity to northern H. bocconei in Italy and plants can be
found that seem very much intermediate between the two. H. viridis is easy to
grow and an underutilized species. Though not often encountered, seed is
occasionally available. Like H. occidentalis, H. viridis benefits from some
dappled shade in areas of long-hot summers, but ample light is necessary for
profuse blooming. Leaves can begin to fade and go dormant in summer in hot
and dry conditions.
Wild Helleborus viridis. Closeups show
rare spotting at the base of the sepals.
Photos by Matthias Thomsen.