Helleborus x ericsmithii
Helleborus x ericsmithii B. Mathew

Another apparently unlikely hybrid, the qualities of all three parents are combined in varying degrees leading to a range of features. At its best this is an excellent evergreen foliage plant, with long lasting flowers.


Reaching about 12-14in/30-38cm in height, the foliage has three broad divisions, at their best these are dark green with a spiny edge and pale veins; there may be pink tints in some plants. The flowers are up to 4in/10cm across, usually pale pink or white inside, often with a central green stripe in each petal, and darker and more often green- or pink-tinted on the reverse.

Natural distribution and habitat

A garden hybrid between H. niger x H. x sternii, formerly known as "H. x nigristern", which is itself a hybrid between H. argutifolius and H. lividus..


An excellent garden plant for rich, well drained soils, preferably with at least half day’s sunshine. An excellent container plant, also good in a low raised bed; remove much of the older foliage in autumn as a precaution against black spot. Propagate by division, plants are sterile.

In the garden

Looks good with a wide range of dwarf bulbs.
H. x ericsmithii growing at Blackthorn Nursery, UK
Words ©Graham Rice or © Graham Rice/Elizabeth Strangman 1993-2002. Pictures ©Graham Rice/gardenphotos.com unless stated. All Rights Reserved.