For Seed trade – Helleborus purpurascens

I am not young enough to know everything” – Oscar Wilde

A quick post because I just ‘discovered’ that Helleborus purpurascens seeds are best sown fresh in the summer. They need to go through a warm-moist period followed by cold-moist in order to germinate best. Older seeds will still germinate but in a lower percentage. Helleborus is one thing I have never done from seed (members of Ranunculaceae are notoriously difficult germinators). This is a rare Helleborus species distributed only along the Carpathian Mountains range, up to central and northern Hungary. Interestingly, it can be found growing in full sun, in open alpine meadows and also under dappled shade in beech woods.

Helleborus purpurascens in native habitat

Helleborus purpurascens growing in full sun in native habitat – Carpathian Mts.

Graham Rice, the authority in all Helleborus matters, has an extensive article on H. purpurascens on his website, you can read it HERE. In a bit of a hurry, I will quote him so no one can say I am biased because of its origins:

It is “one of the most captivating species for its engaging habit of flowering so enthusiastically, for its subtle metallic tints… The foliage too is unlike that of other hellebores, in that it radiates from the tip of the petiole in a neat circle.”

As for the flowers, a few forms that are known from Botanical Gardens: are purple in colour with dark veins, slightly pinkish towards the base and netted towards the edge; some flowers have an overall green haze…In a second form which reaches 15 in in height the flowers are smoky blue-purple in colour, darker outside than in, with slightly reddish veins inside and green nectaries. Other forms may be slate purple or deep purple outside, shining pinkish shades….”

Helleborus purpurascens

Helleborus purpurascens – from what’s left it seems matching the description!

A truly collector’s plant, so this is a call for a seeds trade – if someone wishes a few fresh Helleborus purpurascens seeds to sow them right away, please get in touch with me here, on my email or at infoATbotanicallyinclined.org (of course replace AT with @

It would be a pity not to have them all germinating well – still enough summertime left!

Helleborus purpurascens seeds

Helleborus purpurascens seeds

6 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks; that’s a question with only one answer :) YES! Maybe it can adapt to spend the winter in the house. I noticed today a few flower buds on Dahlia coccinea…

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