Ozarks Spring Wildflowers: Hepatica americana

Picture of Roundlobe Hepatica, Hepatica americana, a slightly blue wildflower that grows in the Ozarks.

Note the large leaf in the lower left and the different form of leaves at the top of the picture. Roundleaf Hepatica seen in spring in Bell Mountain Wilderness.

Hiking quickly up a hill near a river, trying to avoid sliding into the mud, I looked down and saw this slightly bluish wildlower and assumed it was a Rue Anemone.  I reached down to snap a picture and then moved on. When I got back home and looked that the pictures I was stunned to see this plant had interesting mottled tri-lobed leaves that looked like they’d already lived through a winter. What I had seen was actually Roundlobe Hepatica, or Hepatica americana.

This spring I knew what to look for. And I found it. This picture was taken on this year’s Spring Break Trip to the St. Francois Mountains and I saw these near a creek in Bell Mountain Wilderness in Iron County, Missouri. These were not as blue as the ones I saw last year, but I did see some individual plants that had more than just a bluish tinge.

The plant’s name comes from the large persistent leaves. They are lobed and in the winter appear to be a mottled maroon color, resembling the lobes of a liver (Hepaticus is Late Latin for liver).

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