Plant identification — Helleborus


I have this plant in my garden which I cannot identify. Can you help me determine if it is a perennial or a weed?


Hi gardener, I believe this is a Helleborus plant, and is probably “stinking hellebore”. Next year, it should be one of the first plants to flower in spring. It is a very pretty and valuable spring-flowering perennial. Please do not pull it out!

If I am right, your plant is a winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the prestigious Royal Horticulture Society. Someone gifted you with this plant, or perhaps it was planted by  the previous owner of your garden.

Helleborus foetidus, known variously as stinking hellebore, dungwort, setterwort and bear’s foot, is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, and is native to the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe and Asia Minor. It really is not smelly, despite its name; if you crush the leaves, there is a scent that some find a bit odd.

If you would like a quick rundown on your lovely plant, please read these summaries:

Gardenia Net

North Carolina Extension Gardener