Brixton Flower Watch: Hellebore

Welcome to Brixton Flower Club’s weekly flower spotting! Each month we will choose one road or area in Brixton, provide you with a weekly post on something beautiful that we spot and tell you a bit more about it. Thank you to all the local gardeners who work so hard to add some colour and nature to Brixton’s streets.

Location: Brixton Water Lane

Week 5: Hellebore

Common name: Christmas rose, Lenten rose



Hellebores are one of the most beautiful flowers available to us in winter and come in a variety of colours including deep purples, yellows, creams, pinks and lime greens. As shown here the blooms are usually made up of one main colour with heavy speckles of a contrasting colour. The plants are also useful for gardens as they prefer dappled shade and can cope in frost (although they do need protection from harsh winds).

The name ‘Christmas Rose’ is said to come from an old legend that the flower bloomed from a young girl’s tears after she had no gifts to provide for Jesus. I am not religious myself but the flowers certainly start appearing just before Christmas if you are lucky!

Very recent research also claims that it was an overdose of medication incorporating Hellebore which resulted in the death of Alexander the Great. Hellebore has been used in medication for thousands of years but is now known to be toxic.