Anemone acutiloba (Sharp-lobed Hepatica)
|Also known as:||Liverwort, Liverleaf|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; deciduous or mixed woods|
|Bloom season:||March - May|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single flower ½ to 1 inch across is at the end of a hairy leafless stalk. There are 5 to 12 petal-like sepals, usually 6, and numerous white stamens surrounding a green center. Petal color ranges from violet to white, sometimes pinkish. Behind the flower are 3 large hairy bracts each up to 1/3 inch long, oval to egg-shaped with a blunt or pointed tip. One plant has a tuft of a few to many flowers.
Leaves and stems:
The leaves don't start opening up until the flowers bloom. They are mostly mottled green through spring and summer, turn red or brown in fall and persist through the winter. They wither away when the plant starts blooming again the following spring.
Hepaticas are among the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Sharp-lobed Hepatica and Round-lobed Hepatica have gone through a couple of name changes, at one time Hepatica acutiloba and H. americana respectively, and more recently considered different varieties of the same species, Hepatica nobilis var. acuta and var. obtusa respectively. Now they are different species again, in the Anemone genus, and closely related to the European species Anemone hepatica. The easiest way to differentiate Sharp-lobed from Round-lobed is—you guessed it—the round or pointed tips on leaves. The flowers are much the same and, while the tips of the bracts on Sharp-lobed may be more pointed than on Round-lobed, this can be subtle so is not necessarily a reliable distinction. Their ranges overlap significantly and may be found in the same habitat at the same time of year, though Round-lobed Hepatica may be found on drier sites in more acidic soils.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Hepatica plant, about 6 inches tall
- Sharp-lobed Hepatica habitat
- Sharp-lobed Hepatica sprouting up through the snow
- more violet flowers
- more white flowers
Photos by K Chayka taken at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Rice County, and Falls Creek SNA, Washington County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Vermillion Falls, Dakota County and Falls Creek SNA.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?