Hepatica acutiloba 

(he-pa' ti-ca a-cue-ti-lo' bah)

Common name: Hepatica, Sharp-lobed Liverwort, Sharp-lobed Liverleaf

Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup

Height x width: 3-6" x 6"

Growth rate: slow

Foliage: 3-lobed, leathery about 2" long and 4" wide on basal stalks, gray-green flushed purple turning brownish green in winter before falling off in spring

Flowers: 5 to 18 petal-like sepals, light blue to pink to white, closing and drooping in the evening or cloudy or cool weather; early spring with fruits by midspring

Hardiness: zones 3-7

Soil: rich organic, moist but well-drained, prefers alkaline soils of pH 6-7.5

Light: light shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: natural or woodland gardens, shady rock gardens

Other interest: native to the northeastern quarter of the U.S; genus name is from the Latin hepar meaning liver, which since the leaves were said to resemble the shape of a liver were thought by the ancient doctrine of the scriptures to be a cure for liver diseases; this plant was used by the Cherokee people to prevent nightmares of snakes

Other culture: easy

Propagation: root divisions in early fall with leaves left intact, or seeds sown ripe


May be confused with the Round-lobed Hepatica H. americana, native throughout eastern North America, which is similar only with more rounded lobes and prefering a pH of 4-6.

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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