Flower of the week: the Christmas Rose

The Christmas rose isn’t actually a rose, it’s a Helleborus. But the flower is definitely a hit in every Christmas arrangement or bouquet. Scroll down to find out why people used to think that this plant possesses magic powers.

Christmas rose
Christmas Roos

Characteristics

The Helleborus (pronounced “hel-leh-BORE-us”) is a member of the Ranunculaceae family. You can recognise the flower by its white, bowl-shaped flowers of about 3 inches across, adorned with crowns of showy golden-yellow stamens. Unlike other Helleborus, the Christmas Rose’s flowers face outward to attract insects.

Origin

The Helleborus Niger supposedly got its name from the Greek words bora, meaning food, and helein, meaning injures/destroys in reference to the plant’s toxic leaves, stems and roots which are poisonous to humans if ingested. Niger, the Latin word for black, references to the black colour of its roots.

You will find this flower growing on the mountains of southern and central Europe. The Christmas Rose opens up around Christmas time (hence the name Christmas rose) in the more warmer winter regions, while it opens up in early spring in the colder regions.

Christmas rose

Symbolism

In the book Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Hidden Language of Flowers, Peter Loewer noted:

“they [Helleborus] were thought to have magical powers because they bloomed in very cold weather, and if blooms appeared before Christmas it presaged a bountiful year ahead. Because the roots are not edible, they are thought to contain evil spirits, hence the darker meanings of scandal or slander.”

 

You can find the Helleborus cut flower under the Flower tab in our Live Shop and filter on Helleborus article group. Prefer the Helleborus plant? Go to the Plants tab and use the article group filter.

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