Common Names:Hepatica, Liverleaf or Liverwort
Habitat :Hepatica acutiloba is native to central and northern Europe, Asia and eastern North America. Some botanists include Hepatica within a wider interpretation of Anemone.Grows in Rich woods. Deciduous woods, often in calcareous soils, from sea level to 1200 metres
Hepatica acutiloba is a perennial plant growing to 0.25m by 0.2m.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).The flowers are pink, purple, blue, or white sepals and three green bracts appear singly on hairy stems from late winter to spring. The leaves are basal, leathery, and usually three-lobed, remaining over winter.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
Prefers a deep light soil with leafmold. Grows well on limey woodland soils in half shade, though it also succeeds in deep shade and in full sun. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible. This species is closely related to H. americana. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.
Seed – sow in a moist soil in a shady position. The stored seed requires stratification for about 3 weeks at 0 – 5°c. Germination takes 1 – 12 months at 10°c. It is probably worthwhile sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division just as the leafless plant comes into flower in late winter. Replant immediately into their permanent positions.
A tea made from the leaves is laxative. It is used in the treatment of fevers, liver ailments and poor digestion. At one time it became a cult medicine as a liver tonic and 200,000 kilos of dried Hepatica leaves were used in 1883 alone. Externally, the tea is applied as a wash to swollen breasts. The plant is harvested in late spring or early summer and is dried for later use. It also has demulcent activity. The roots and leaves are used dried or fresh in a tea or syrup. Of little use.
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