Every Spring I venture into the woods looking for one of my favorite flowers, Hepatica. You have to be a good flower hunter to find it.
It’s a small plant so you need to be fairly close to it to see one. The leaves that have overwintered are typically hidden, at least in part, by the brown tree leaves on the ground.
If you’re close to a plant the bits of green can catch your eye among the browns and greys of the forest floor.
Of course, the easiest way to see hepatica is to remember where you’ve seen it last. Being a perennial the greenery can be seen in many seasons but the flowers are only out in April.
The flowers may attract your attention being a light purple and ranging from deep purple-blue to light bluish-white. It’s amazing how well colors can blend into the shadows, so don’t rely only on color to find hepatica.
It is easier to spot the flowers on a sunny day as the blooms will be open in the sunshine. Clouds and nighttime will see the petals closing up toward the center of the flower.
Take time looking around the base of large trees for hepatica. I’ve often found them in these protected spots. If you find one plant, look some more. There will be others so watch your step!
Their size is small, as that’s probably the biggest factor in locating hepatica. Flowers are about an inch across when full-sized and fully opened. Maybe they’re pea-sized when closing up.
Having said that, realize that once you have your “search pattern” down – like after you find that first one your brain knows what to look for – you’ll be able to see more hepatica blooming in the woods.
The good news is we still have a couple of weeks in Central Pennsylvania to go and seek Hepatica before their blooming period is done.