| Trollius, Anemone, Eranthis, Solomon's seal, Doronicum|
Hepatica (hepatica, liverleaf, or liverwort) is a genus of herbaceous perennials in the buttercup family, native to central and northern Europe, Asia and eastern North America. Some botanists include Hepatica within a wider interpretation of Anemone.
The word hepatica derives from the Latin hepaticus (liver), because the three-lobed leaf was thought to resemble the human liver.
Bisexual flowers with pink, purple, blue, or white sepals and three green bracts appear singly on hairy stems from late winter to spring. Butterflies, moths, bees, flies and beetles are known pollinators.
The leaves are basal, leathery, and usually three-lobed, remaining over winter.
Hepatica cultivation has been popular in Japan since the 18th century (mid-Edo period), where flowers with doubled petals and a range of colour patterns have been developed.
Noted for its tolerance of alkaline limestone-derived soils, Hepatica may grow in a wide range of conditions; it can be found either in deeply shaded deciduous (especially beech) woodland and scrub or grassland in full sun. Hepatica will also grow in both sandy and clay-rich substrates, being associated with limestone. Moist soil and winter snowfall is a requirement; Hepatica is tolerant of winter snow cover, but less so of dry frost.
Propagation is done by seeds or by dividing vigorous clumps in spring. However, seedlings take several years to reach bloom size, and divided plants are slow to thicken.
Hepatica is named from its leaves, which, like the human liver (Greek hepar), have three lobes. It was once used as a medicinal herb. Owing to the doctrine of signatures, the plant was once thought to be an effective treatment for liver disorders. Although poisonous in large doses, the leaves and flowers may be used as an astringent, as a demulcent for slow-healing injuries, and as a diuretic.
The known hepatica species can be divided into two series with respect to the leaf shape. The leaves of the series Triloba Ulbr. Tamura: are three-lobed with an smooth leaf edge. The series Angulosa (Ulbr.) Tamura are three- to five-lobed and leaf margin is mostly serrated. Between one and ten species of Hepatica are recognised, with some of the taxa more often treated as varieties:Hepatica nobilis = common hepatica As sites, light beech and oak forests with calcareous, clay-rich soils are preferred. In the Alps it climbs to elevations of 2200 meters.
Hepatica nobilis var. nobilis = European Hepatica — Scandinavia to central Italy and Baltic to Balkan
Hepatica nobilis var. pyrenaica = Hepatica pyrenaica — Pyrenees and mountains of northern Spain
Hepatica nobilis var. japonica = Hepatica japonica, synonym of Anemone hepatica var. japonica (Nakai) Ohwi — Japan: main Island of Honshu, Shikoku, north of Kyushu island.
Hepatica nobilis var. pubescens = Hepatica pubescens, synonym of Anemone hepatica var. japonica (Nakai) Ohwi — Japan central Island of Honshu up to 1050 m.
Hepatica asiatica (Nakai) — China: central and eastern, Korea, coastal region of the Far East of Russia; Forests and grassy slopes from 700 to 1100 m.
Hepatica maxima (Nakai) — South Korea (endemic to Ulleung-do island)
Hepatica insularis (Nakai) — South Korea
Eastern North America Hepatica nobilis var. acuta = Hepatica acutiloba, Anemone acutiloba, Sharp-lobed Hepatica
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa = Hepatica americana, Anemone americana, Round-lobed hepatica
Hepatica transsilvanica = Anemone transsilvanica (Fuss) Heuff. — Romania (Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania)
Hepatica falconeri ((Thomson) Juz.) — Mountain forests of Central Asia; India: Northwest Himalayas (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir); Northwest China (Tienshan); Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Pamir-Alai); North Pakistan, Kazakhstan (North Tienshan) on heights up to 3100 m.
Hepatica henryi (Oliv. (Steward)) — China (Central to West)(provinces Hubei, Hunan, Szechuan, Shaanxi at 1300-2000m.
Hepatica yamatutai (Nakai) — Western China (Sichuan), 800-2000m, endemic in small area at mount Emei Shan; evergreen forests with high rainfall, related to H. henryi