Sharp Lobed Hepatica – Hepatica acutiloba

hepatica acutiloba_07

Photographed along Wayah road

SHARP LOBED HEPATICA ( Hepatica acutiloba) belongs to the  Buttercup family

The sharp lobe hepatica is one of those lovely little spring plants which are really tiny, only 3-4 inches tall.  Look for them along trails in the woods or shady roadsides early in the season.  It is called “sharp-lobed” to distinguish it from a related species, Hepatica nobilis, which has a round-lobed leaf.  The flowers are usually white, but can be pink or lavender as in this particular plant.

hepatica acutiloba_09

The word hepatica derives from hepar, the Greek word for liver, presumably chosen because the leaf resembles a liver in shape.  Also, as the season progresses the leaf darkens to a reddish brown color further resembling a liver.  For this reason, it was once thought that the leaves would have medicinal value to cure liver ailments.

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