Hepatica was in full bloom this past week. It is so refreshing – and surprising! – to see a beautiful cluster of dainty, pale blue to violet flowers on the otherwise dull forest floor of tan. Oak leaves rustle everywhere you step except the places where animals have worn them down to flakes along their paths.
Round-lobed hepatica growing out of the end of an old fallen tree.
Hepatica americana is quite variable in its growth habit. Sometimes the tri-lobed leaves are not present at the time of flowering. Sometimes the leaves are just as tan as the dead oak leaves. Others have green leaves that apparently survived winter just fine.
Hepatica blooming with no apparent leaves.
Four tan and quite dead-looking leaves are present on this woodland hepatica plant.
I saw a new leaf variety this year that I have not noted before nor read about in my trusty field guide books. Usually, the tri-lobed leaves are at ground level and may even be hidden under last year’s old tree leaves.
In the two images below you can see two types of leaves. The larger tri-lobed leaves are the norm. The smaller and erect leaves are taller than the blossoms and much smaller than the typical basal leaves. The small leaves are also somewhat tri-lobed, yet definitely have a more scalloped edge compared to the smooth edge of the typical leaves.
Small, erect leaves on this woodland plant are not typical of round-lobed hepatica.
Larger, tri-lobed leaves at ground level and small, erect leaves of hepatica.
Hepatica is also variable with respect to its blossom colors. Today’s images show the blooms to be white, light blue to violet, or shades of purple.
White blossoms of hepatica showing large sepal-like bracts and wide white petal-like sepals as compared to the purple flowered plants.
It is so pleasing to have one of my favorite woodland plants on our property. When everyone is itching to get outside after a long winter and those nice warmer days come along, a simple walk in the woods is easy entertainment. It can be so invigorating when you spot a new or even familiar plant showing off its Spring colors.
Makes me want to say, “Oh, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!”
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