The Lenten Rose is a rose in name only

Joy Ceraldi

My husband and I attended a wonderful spring gardening seminar in April of 2022.  It was the first such gathering we had been to since the pandemic. There were conversations with other gardeners about how welcome the spring flowers were. We praised the daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and crocuses. And one woman mentioned the beautiful Lenten Rose. I did not know about an early spring blooming flower called the Lenten Rose. I had to learn more about it.

The Lenten Rose is not a rose at all, but the five-sepal blooms resemble rose blossoms. It is really Helleborus Orientalis, a perennial flowering plant and a species of hellebore in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, which is native to Greece and Turkey. The word Helleborus is taken from the Greek words helein, which means “to injure”, and bora “food”, and refers to the bitter tasting leaves and roots which are poisonous when eaten.

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