My Wild Xmas Rose
Photograph - Photography
Portrait photo of an exquisite 'Christmas Rose', helleborus niger hybrid. Though not in the rose family, the beautiful helleborus niger blooms in Winter, and got the name 'Christmas Rose' from a legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem. There are other legends involving hellebores, in Greek mythology, and also a historical account where a city's water supply was poisoned with the plant by besiegers (see 'the siege of Kirrha'), resulting in such debilitation that the city's defenses collapsed.
The 'Lenten Rose', helleborus orientalis, is also a beautiful early bloomer. Hellebores comprise about 20 species and are joyfully hybridiized by botanists with beautiful results. A normally drooping flowerhead, recent hybrids have been produced that face up, like roses, and give the human viewer a lovely smile. Hellebores are members of the ranunculaceae family, which includes buttercups and ranunculus. They are native to Europe and all across Central Asia and Caucusus to Western China. Most species are highly poisonous to humans, contraindicated for salads! The flowers have five apparent petals, which are actually sepals and usually remain on the flower for many months. The actual petals, which can be seen surrounding the stamen, are modified to hold nectar and called 'nectaries'.
April 15th, 2013
Viewed 66 Times - Last Visitor from Moscow, 48 - Russian Federation on 08/06/2015 at 7:41 AM