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Plant of the week: Hepatica nobilis var. obtuse, Liverwort

Hepatica nobilis var. obtuse, Liverwort

Common name: Liverwort, Liverleaf, Round-leaf Hepatica, Anemone

"Liverwort" Anglo-Saxon word "lifer", meaning liver and "wyrt", plant. During the 16th century claimed to resemble the lobes of a liver, believed to be useful for the treatment of liver ailments.

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

Habitat: Rocky woods

Hardiness: USDA Zone 3-8

Height: 4-6” high, form colonies

Leaves: size: 2”-2˝” wide, basal, 3 lobes with rounded tips. Leaves persist from the previous season. Leaf shape distinguishes the variety (round–lobed hepatica or sharp-lobed). Sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutilobia) has leaves with three to seven lobes and sharply pointed tips.

Flower: size: ˝”-1” wide; 5-9 petal-like sepals; petals absent; 3 green elliptical bracts; leafless, hairy flower stem with solitary flower. Colour: white, blue, purple or pink. Bloom period: Early spring (March–May). One of first flowers to bloom in spring.

Fruit: Achene

Range: Native wildflower from Manitoba to Nova Scotia, but becoming very rare in NS. Very similar to European species.

Culture: Evergreen herbaceous perennial. Good woodland, shade or rock garden plant.

Care: Low maintenance

Light: Sun to full shade; prefers dappled sun – spring; light shade - summer.

Propagation: Reseeds; extends rhizomatous roots in winter, majority of its photosynthesis occurs.

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