Q What are the symptoms of hellebore black death?
A Typical symptoms include stunting, distortion and black streaking, and netting-like patterns to affected leaves. In the UK, the most seriously affected hellebore is the oriental hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus), although similar symptoms have been seen on other species. Usually, emerging new spring growth is affected and damage worsens as the season unfolds. Take care not to confuse symptoms with the (more general blackening of botrytis or the (dark) fungal leaf-spotting seen commonly on hellebores.
Caption: Plants affected by hellebore black death should be dug up immediately
Q What should I do if I have an affected plant?
A Unfortunately hellebore black death is a serious disease which can devastate plants. It’s thought to be caused by a virus, so is difficult to control, other than by promptly destroying infected plants. It’s also known to occur in mainland Europe and North America. The virus is currently thought to be transmitted by aphids, although this has yet to be confirmed.