This is 2 stems, each with 3 leaves. The leaves are thick and stiff with serrated edges. The leaf is about 2". The whole thing is about 2" high. A few of these have popped up in the garden. This one has been here for about 3 years and has only grown this big. I'm in zone 6b in Pennsylvania. In the woods. I have not seen anything around that looks anything like this. Any ideas?

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  • 1
    That little thing is 3 yrs. old? ... Well we know it can't be a weed. (just kidding)
    – Lorel C.
    Jun 23, 2017 at 4:56
  • Do the others that have popped up have the same configuration of 2 stems and 3 leaves on each stem? Are they 5he same size as this 3 year old one?
    – Jude
    Jun 23, 2017 at 6:51
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    Looks rather like a Hellebore seedling to me, but I can't think of any plant that would just look like this for three whole years, without increasing growth, losing its leaves or flowering
    – Bamboo
    Jun 23, 2017 at 11:53
  • I have to agree with you about being a helebore. I also don't understand why it isn't growing. I went out to look at it again today and it's probably 3" off the ground. The others are the same, one stem and 3 leaves but tiny. I have babies under the mother plant that have grown so much in 2 years and they look just like a full grown hellebore. I looked under the mother plant and to my surprise I did see a tiny 3 leafed one so I'm betting you ar right. Thank you so much for your help. You led me in the right direction.
    – 224windsor
    Jun 23, 2017 at 18:26
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    I've grown many plants from seed, some just for fun like citrus seeds. Every now and then, a plant will develop two true leaves; not cotyledon (seed leaves) but not grow any further. When I've checked, there is nothing - no tiny growing point - between the two stems that show a new branching stem developing. So now and then a dud grows that stays like that. I've kept some for months to see if anything happens. It doesn't but the tiny plant doesn't die either. Perhaps that's what the 3 year old is.
    – Jude
    Jun 23, 2017 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


That's a young helleborus (Lenten Rose). If the conditions are off, they can take a very long time to settle in. Probably a seedling. In zone 6b PA, they are evergreen and old leaves don't die back until new ones have formed. If you want to grow them, transplant to a shady, well drained spot with high organic matter levels, and keep it watered. They are nitrogen suckers but too much can cause them to lodge.

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  • Thanks so much. It's in partial shade but I'll move it to all shade. I appreciate your answer.
    – 224windsor
    Sep 2, 2017 at 12:26

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