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Sharp Leaved Hepatica-Wisconsin Native Plamt

Hepatica acutiloba


Sharp Leaved Hepatica


Benefits:    Bees
Bloom Time:    March, April
Sun Shade:    Partial Shade
Zones:    4, 5
Soil Conditions:    Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture:    Medium, Moist
Color:    Pink, Lavender
Fragrance:    No
Height:    0.25 - .5 inches
Spacing:    6 inches


Sharp Leaved Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) is a herbaceous perennial plant that is about 3-6 inches tall. It consists of a tuft of basal leaves that develops during the late spring and persists through the winter. These leaves are up to 3 inches long and across. They have slender petioles up to 6 inches long. Each leaf is palmately divided into 3 lobes. The lobes are oval-ovate and approximately the same size. The smooth upper surface of each leaf can be green, brownish green, reddish brown, or contain patches of the preceding colors. The upper surface is more green during the summer, but become reddish brown during the winter. The leaf margins are smooth.

A mature plant will produce a tuft of flowers on long stalks during early to mid-spring, by which time the basal leaves that persisted during the winter may have withered away. Each flower occurs on a naked hairy stalk about 3-4 inches long; this stalk is often reddish green or reddish brown. The flower may be erect or it may nod on its stalk. Each flower is up to 1 inch across, consisting of 5-11 petal-like sepals, a green cluster of carpels in its center, and numerous white stamens surrounding the carpels. The sepals are white, pastel pink, or pastel blue; each sepal is oblong-oval in shape. At the base of each flower, there are 3 leafy bracts that are lanceolate, ovate, or oval in shape. These bracts are reddish green or reddish brown, hairy across the outer surface, and shorter than the sepals. The blooming period occurs during early to mid-spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks for a colony of plants. The root system consists of a tuft of fibrous roots. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

Habitats include upland deciduous woodlands, rocky bluffs, the slopes of bluffs, and limestone cliffs (where some shade occurs). Sharp-Lobed Hepatica occurs in high quality wooded areas where the original flora is largely intact. Sometimes it is cultivated as a rock garden plant.

The preference is dappled sunlight during the spring and light shade during the summer. The soil should be well-drained, loamy, and can contain some rocky material, including pieces of limestone.

Plant Care and Notes:

  The basal leaves should be left undisturbed during the winter.

  A thin-layer of decaying leaves is beneficial.