Commonly known as hellebores, members of the genus Helleborus comprise approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae. Many species are poisonous. Despite names such as 'Christmas rose' and 'Lenten rose', hellebores are not closely related to the rose family (Rosaceae). The genus is native to much of Europe, from western Great Britain, Spain and Portugal, eastward across the Mediterranean region and central Europe into Romania and Ukraine, and along the north coast of Turkey into the Caucasus. The greatest concentration of species occurs in the Balkans. One atypical species (H. thibetanus) comes from western China; another atypical species (H. vesicarius) inhabits a small area on the border between Turkey and Syria. The flowers have five 'petals' (actually sepals) surrounding a ring of small, cup-like nectaries (petals modified to hold nectar).
Contributions by SiGarb, TimMurphy, and Darorcilmir.