Flowers of Helleborus x hybridus

Flowers of Helleborus x hybridus

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Helleborus x hybridus is the name given to any of a wide variety of acaulescent ( stemless ) hellebores grown in gardens. The flower has an unusual structure, with the colour deriving not from petals, but from sepals. Inside the sepals is a ring of nectaries (green), then the anthers, and finally, in the centre, the carpels and pistils. H x hybridus is self-fertile and genetically diverse. This results in the appearance of many offspring, each with slightly different colours and patterns on the sepals. The picture shows a series of flowers from a garden in Norfolk, UK. The original plant was purple and spotted ( 3, below centre ). The other flowers in this picture are from self-sown, open-pollinated progeny of this plant. The plant above the purple original has purple spots on a pale background. The pattern of the spots is different on each sepal, as can be seen throughout the picture.

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Keywords: acaulescent, biological, biology, botanical, botany, carpel, garden hellebore, genetic diversity, helleborus x hybridus, nectary, open pollination, petal, pistil, self-fertile, sepal

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