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Hepatica_americana_2005-01-12
Hepatica americana
    ( Hepatica        americana )
Round-Lobed Hepatica, taken on January 12, 2005.
Photo Credit: Mike Strickland

Hepatica americana, or Round Lobed Hepatica, is a pure delight in the garden because of its many special features, not the least of which is a very early bloom time. The Hepatica will bloom as early as January and may continue blooming through March. Growing in rich or rocky soil on wooded slopes and ravine bottoms, the plant is very adaptable. Its blooms range from white to blue to lavender and sometimes pinkish.

Each 1 and a half to 2 inch flower will emerge from a burgundy-brown set of basal leaves that have persisted through the winter. These old leaves will wither away when the plants start blooming. New two-toned green leaves will will begin to unfurl after the flowers are in bloom. These leaves will be up to 3 inches long with three very rounded lobes.

Flowers have 6 petals which grow on a hairy, leafless stalk. Surrounding the green center of the flower are several white stamen. Behind each flower are three bracts which extend beyond the petals framing the flower.

Common uses for this plant include: naturalized sweeps in woodland or native plant gardens. In shaded areas of rock gardens.

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