Spring Wildflowers: Hepatica

Unseasonably cool weather persists, delaying the much anticipated sequence of bloom of the early spring wildflowers. It appears that the blooming period will be shorter than normal, but intense. Many plants are up, some carpeting the forest floor, with buds and flowers on hold. Several days of warm weather should trigger an explosion of blooms from many species!

Hepatica, one of the first of the spring ephemerals to bloom, always gets a head start on the others, regardless of the weather. Tough, persistent leaves from the previous growing season help make this possible.


Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) in full bloom (26April2014)

Hepatica is not abundant and, like many of the early spring flowers in this region, is usually found growing in moist, fertile woodlands. It is a plant of the mixed mesophytic forests of eastern U.S. and southern Canada.


The delicate flowers, with 6-12 sepals that resemble petals, are usually white (pink and blue variations also occur)


Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

5 thoughts on “Spring Wildflowers: Hepatica

  1. Simply lovely. I’ve never seen one here. Perhaps not paying enough attention. Those leaves should be easy enough for identification. They don’t seem to belong to such a delicate flower.

    • I’ve seen a number of plants with flowers tinged with blue or pink, but not many. I’d like to photograph one with color, but the weather has been terrible and I fear I’m running out of time. There is also another species here which has rounded leaf lobes. Thanks for the comment — and perspective from across the pond!!!

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