(Ranunculaceae). Christmas rose, Lentern rose, Hellebore. Genus of 15 species of perennials, some evergreen grown for winter and spring flowers. Found in scrub, woodland and grassy and rocky sites, usually on chalk or limestone soils from Central East and South Europe to West Asia. They are rhizomatous, clump forming with basal leaves which are lobed or fully divided into leaflets, toothed, and leathery. Most deciduous species retain their old leaves over winter and should be cut off in early spring as flower buds develop. The loose, usually few flowered cymes have leafy bracts and are borne from late winter to mid-spring. Flowers are white, cream, pink, purple or green, some spotted, pendent or outward-facing saucer-shaped.
Effective when grown in groups in a border, on a raised wall or naturalized in a woodland garden. Smaller species are ideal for a rock garden. Dislike being moved once established, so should not be divided. From Corsica and Sardinia.