Hepaticas and More

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Hepatica transsilvanica "Elison Spence"
Hepatica x mexia "Millstream Merlin"

Hepatica x mexia “Millstream Merlin”

The Genus Hepatica

I have certainly said the same before as I am sure I will say the same again. Each year, in mid-March to early April, I note that the Hepaticas have never looked better. As they have now become happily established in our woodland at Heronswood, they have become to recombine and self sow, treating us to beefy mounds of tri-lobed, often mottled, foliage and scores of delicate flowers in pastel shades. Though the flowering effects may be considered short by some, there is no other genus or hardy plants that provides such charm to the late winter garden. Nor one that evokes such lust and passion amongst collectors. Nor one that seemingly gets better each year.

There are not many species of Hepatica world wide. Hepatica acutiloba and Hepatica noblis var. americana are the only N. American representatives. Hepatica nobilis var. noblis, H. noblis var. pyrenaica and H. transsilvanica hold down the fort in Europe while a quartet or quintux of Asian species are found in Japan, Korea and China. In Japan, Hepatica fanciers have elevated the genus to near cult status where they are most often grown, and displayed, in containers.

Hepatica transsilvanica "Elison Spence"

Hepatica transsilvanica ‘Elison Spence’

Hepaticas are not in the least difficult to grow. Though they are most in sync with a deciduous woodland- not coniferous – as they prefer to have sunny conditions when in active growth followed by quite shaded conditions during the summer., if provided a garden position with a high overstory and bright conditions, and with hummus rich soils, they will thrive in our climate.

Throughout our woodland during the next three weeks, you will be treated to numerous species, cultivars and self sown seedlings of Hepaticas at their peak blossom. Visit the garden to explore this beguiling genus- and many, many others- to experience for yourself the breadth of their endearing qualities.

– Dan