Name

Christmas Rose

Latin

Hellebore

Secret Meaning

Relieve my anxiety or Scandal/Calumny

Alternative Names:

Hellebore, Clove-tongue, St. Agnes' rose, Christmas plant, Christopher's herb, Christ's herb, Bear's foot, Black hellebore, Brumal rose

Facts & Folkore:

Helleborus niger is commonly called the Christmas rose, due to an old 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.

The scientific name Helleborus derives from the Greek words meaning "to injure" and "food" from its toxic qualities. All hellebores are toxic though "Black hellebore" was used by the Greek and Romans to treat paralysis, gout and other diseases, more particularly insanity. "Black hellebore" is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, anaphylaxis, emesis (vomiting), catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the heart rate), and finally, collapse and death from cardiac arrest. It is no wonder that in witchcraft it was believed to have ties to summoning demons!

The Legend of the Christmas Rose is a charming tale of a little shepherd girl named Madelon.

As Madelon tended to her sheep one cold and wintry night, Wise Men and shepherds passed by Madelon's snow-covered field bearing gifts for the Christ Child. Following, Madelon saw the Magi present gold, myrrh and frankincense to the baby...even the humble shepherds had brought fruits, honey and doves to give to the babe...but Madelon had nothing, not even a simple flower for the Newborn King. Standing outside the stable where Jesus had been born, poor Madelon wept, wishing that she had a gift she could carry to the infant. A watching Angel, taking pity on Madelon, caused the snow at the feet of the small girl feet to vanish, thus revealing a most beautiful white flower whose petals were tipped with pink, formed by the Angel from the tears which had fallen from the eyes of the little shepherdess. Overjoyed, Madelon presented her gift at the manger of the baby Jesus...her gift of the Christmas Rose.

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