Today, I went on a hunt for Hepatica. I don’t know why, but I desperately want to take a really good picture of Hepatica. I thought today might be the day. Last year, I found some blooming on March 31. And today was a much prettier day than that… Sunny. Warm. Most of the snow is gone. There’s a hill at Camp Timbercrest that is covered with the stuff. Alas… I found the bud you see at right. And many leaves:
But no open blooms…
We have two kinds of Hepatica around here… Sharp-lobed (Hepatica acutiloba) and Round-lobed (Hepatica americana). I have only found the Sharp-lobed variety so far. Even my photo from last year in Chautauqua Gorge was Sharp-lobed:
The usefulness of this plant as a medicine for liver and kidney problems has been debated over the years. In 1883, nearly half a million pounds of leaves were harvested for such medicine. Native Americans once used a tea made from hepatica to soothe coughs and irritated throats. Today, the plant is known to have an astringent and a diuretic effect. (source)
According the Peterson Guide to Wildflowers, the Sharp-lobed variety can be white or pink and the Round-lobed can be white, pink, or violet-blue. According to Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, the two can hybridize resulting in plants with leaves whose lobes are somewhere between sharp and round.
I want to find (and photograph) one as purple as the one Mon@rch found in 2003:
Perhaps if I “put it out there,” my wish will come true!