African Garden + [wildflowers]

A Wildflower for All Seasons: Wildflower Wednesday

So many of my favorite Northern Illinois native wildflowers are ephemeral, but the earliest bloomer of them all definitely is not. Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (f/k/a Hepatica acutiloba), also know as sharp-leaved hepatica, is in fact evergreen.
It's called sharp-leaved or acuta because the leaves come to a point,

distinguishing it from another native Hepatica, H. nobilis var. obtusa (f/k/a Hepatica americana) or round-leaved hepatica.

(Photo taken January 2008.)
Notice the difference in leaf shape. The flowers are indistinguishable, but H var. acuta blooms earlier. Both are small plants with flowers that open in the sun, although H. var. acuta is slightly larger.

This plant shows half of the winter leaves trimmed off to better display the blooms. It is planted at the foot of a Cottonwood tree, so it clearly tolerates dry shade. The old foliage still shows a vestige of its fall coloration.

It's at its most vibrant in November, when this photo was taken.
The plant blooms before the new foliage emerges.

These flowers are mostly white, but they show traces of pink. Last year, they were more blue.

Photo taken April 6, 2009

The new leaves emerge green and remain attractive all summer.

Photo taken May 2009, shown with Trillium grandiflorum, Viola labradorica, Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), and shooting stars (Dodecatheon media alba).

If you have shade, why not give this little charmer a try? Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Hepatica acutiloba) Zones 3-7 Partial shade to shade Prefers moist soil but will tolerate dry shade Height to 6 inches Blooms March-April, foliage evergreen Associates well with ferns, trilliums, and other woodland wildflowers Native to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin
Thanks goes to Gail of Clay and Limestone, for coming up with Wildflower Wednesday to celebrate the beauty of our wildflowers.