Anemone acutiloba (Sharp-lobed Hepatica)

Plant Info
Also known as: Liverwort, Liverleaf
Family:Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; deciduous or mixed woods
Bloom season:March - May
Plant height:2 to 6 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 3 inches long and wide on a slender hairy stalk up to 6 inches long, and lobed in 3 parts of similar size, each lobe generally egg-shaped with a pointed tip.

[photo of Sharp-lobed Hepatica leaves] 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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Mary - Ney Nature Ctr Henderson MN
on: 2010-04-09 21:39:05

On Easter Sunday -- hillsides were covered also bloodroot, just starting wild ginger and the leaves for the Trout Lily, a few Dutchman Breeches -- great place for a hike

Posted by: Patricia - St. Croix State Park
on: 2011-03-04 10:58:54

We spotted the leaves near Sand Creek landing within the park. To late to see the flowers year of 2010. Will be hoping to spot the flowers early this spring

Posted by: Susan - Winona
on: 2011-04-08 20:05:38

My daughters saw this flower blooming on April 6th on a hilltop in Winona, a few miles from the Mississippi River.

Posted by: Dawn - Rochester, MN
on: 2011-04-14 21:59:48

There are six sets of Sharp-lobed Hepatica, flowering now mid-April in the northwest sector of Indian Heights Park. They are so pretty so early after a long winter!

Posted by: Rex - Rochester, MN
on: 2011-04-26 08:14:22

I have seen hepatica occasionally on walks, but rarely have I caught it flowering. But yesterday (4/25/2011), we saw the biggest batch of flowering hepatica I have ever seen. There were thousands of them all along the dirt road (T-131) downstream from Millville about a mile on the hillside opposite the Zumbro river. Pretty impressive.

Posted by: Isabel - Waubun
on: 2011-05-05 13:54:11

After our recent foot of snow, I was so excited to see blue and white hepatica along our 1/2 mile driveway. Spring must really be here! The flower colors ranged from white to medium purple. We only saw leaves emerging on the white flowered variety. 5/5/2011

Posted by: Dan - Milaca
on: 2011-05-08 16:34:30

Nice cluster of white and blue hepatica blooming at our cabin in the forest. Distribution map doesn't list Mille Lacs county?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-05-08 18:24:57

Thanks for writing. The USDA Plants distribution maps are pretty out-dated and there doesn't seem to be a way to bring them into this century, so we started making our own maps. When we get to updating hepatica there will be a dot in Mille Lacs county!

Posted by: babs - Rice Co
on: 2012-03-28 19:56:53

blooming in Rice Co. near Nfld to day 3-28-12

Posted by: Sally - Ney Nature Center near Henderson, MN
on: 2012-04-01 17:08:32

Beautiful clumps of these flowers growing on the steep ravine hillsides. Color ranges from white to lavender.

Posted by: Allison - Cass Lake, Minnesota
on: 2013-05-25 18:33:46

I took a beautiful picture yesterday of purple Hepatica out along a loggers road, and then contacted a fellow scientist to figure out what it is. I live in Cass county... you don't have our county marked on the map as having this plant..... I can send you the picture.... I am a science teacher.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2013-05-26 19:31:15

Allison, from the images you sent, what you found is definitely round-lobed hepatica, A. americana. You can clearly see the rounded lobes on the leaves near the bottom of one of your images. The flower color does range from white to a fairly deep blue-violet so you did encounter the whole spectrum there. So no new discovery for Cass County--this time!

Posted by: Jennifer - Whitewater State Park
on: 2014-04-20 16:52:08

Here and there on the hillsides along the Trout Run Trail. Lovely

Posted by: Polly - High Island Creek County Park, Sibley County
on: 2014-04-21 20:51:21

Light pinkish purple flowers with 7 or 8 petals, on a hillside today (identified by a friend from the photo I posted on Facebook).

Posted by: Katy - Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
on: 2015-04-13 11:15:14

Blooming on Sunday 4/1/15, first to bloom at the park.

Posted by: Bruce - Wildlife Mgt Area near Sandstone
on: 2015-11-05 07:36:12

I encountered several clusters of this plant under mature mixed hardwoods in north central Pine County on November 4th. Due to the mild, wet fall the leaves were still green. However the leaf venation was purple or beet colored which added to the fall colors.

Posted by: AllisonK - ~6 mi south of Lake Crystal, woods above Watowan River
on: 2016-04-18 20:32:03

Saw many white hepatica (8 pointed petals) yesterday, 4/17/2016, while walking in the woods above Watowan River on a friend's property.

Posted by: Sue A - Mankato
on: 2017-04-10 11:13:09

Found several clumps in wooded hillside ... white and pink.

Posted by: Jessica - Byron
on: 2018-05-02 15:00:42

Hepatica just starting to bloom at Oxbow Park in Byron, MN as of the last few days! Found both white and purple variants today.

Posted by: Kathy & Doug Wood - Stearns county north of Sartell in our woods along the Missi
on: 2020-02-13 02:41:27

These grow in just one area under some oaks. Always love seeing them.

Posted by: Bonnie - Lake Elmo
on: 2020-04-01 17:48:07

This little plant either volunteered itself into my garden or was planted via a wildflower seed pack I has purchased several years ago. This is the first time I've noticed its blossoms. I've always admired this compact little plant. I'm so glad I was out exploring my garden so early this year (3/31/2020).

Posted by: David G - Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
on: 2020-04-10 21:29:54

Starting to bloom off hidden falls and beaver trails. (4/10/2020)

Posted by: Ronald Johannsen - Trenton Lake Minnesota
on: 2020-04-12 18:02:25

4-11-2020 First Hepatica blooming along with many scarlet elf’s cup mushrooms.

Posted by: Arlene Renshaw - Mankato
on: 2020-04-21 14:03:57

In a recent walk in Williams Nature Center just west of Mankato, we saw many white Hepaticas in bloom.

Posted by: luciearl - Fairview Twp, Cass County
on: 2020-04-26 15:11:38

Just since last week, hepatica is starting to open up on my trail. Purple, light purple, white, and a few pink. Always a welcome site in the spring!

Posted by: Fran Duffee - Hastings
on: 2021-04-06 17:16:22

Saw many hepatica blooms on Sunday, 4.4.2021 at Spring Lake Park Reserve - Schaar's Bluff in Hastings, MN There were many patches of flowers with various shades of purple, white and pink flowers.

Posted by: Donna M - Saint Paul
on: 2021-04-07 13:33:04

I've seen it blooming in the lawns of many homes in the Como Park area of St Paul. So sweet to see them popping up.

Posted by: Ron Johannsen - Trenton lake Freeborn
on: 2021-04-17 18:54:16

Blooming now

Posted by: Don Wendel - Cedar Creek Ecosystem Scientific Preserve
on: 2022-05-04 22:38:10

This plant was blooming with many others along the trail through Cedar Bog Lake Lowlands.

Posted by: Vicki Petersen - Mankato
on: 2022-05-05 13:52:58

Rassmussen Woods. One plant blooming April 28, 2022. I have never seen this plant before or at least not in bloom:)

Posted by: Sarah Mitchell - Marine on St. Croix
on: 2023-04-12 21:58:08

First of year open flowers on April 12, 2023!

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