Spring Ephemeral: Hepatica americana

One of my favorite spring ephemeral flowers makes an appearance in woodlands of the Eastern United States during April. Hepatica americana, or just hepatica, is a perennial spring-flowering plant.

Hepatica is a Spring Ephemeral because the plant grows, flowers and completes its life-cycle before the tree canopy is filled in with leaves. Once that happens the amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor is nil. Most plants won’t be able to receive enough sunlight in the woods, but the Spring Ephemerals start out early enough to prosper.

White flowers of Hepatica americana open in the sunshine.
White flowers of Hepatica americana open in the sunshine.

Check out some other hepatica pictures in the video below:

Hepatica April 2011 Video

Hepatica is a delicate woodland flower with white, pink or lavender flowers that open in the sunshine. The purple to maroon flower stalks have long, soft hairs. Petals appear long with rounded tips. Stamens are cream-colored and of different lengths.

Hepatica leaves are larger than the flowers and usually have three rounded lobes, reminiscent of Mickey Mouse Ears. The leaves tend to lay flat on the ground, often hiding among the leaf litter.

Leave a Comment