February 18th, 2012. Last December, on one of our trips to spot new wildflowers, we stumbled upon a patch of Round-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa) plants on Mill Road in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area (WMA). A little research at Name that Plant indicated that these plants would probably bloom in March so we planned to go back to see the blooms this Spring. Given that we’ve had a warm winter, it seems prudent to go a little earlier. We finally got around to driving up to Dawson Forest on the 18th. It was late afternoon at about 5 p.m. when we found them.
There it was. A single white flower among the fallen oak leaves on the embankment by the road. I’d been looking for the characteristic leaves but they’d withered since last December.
A closer view of the flower. It’s a little past its best but unmistakable. The white structures are sepals, not petals I looked around and found more....
A blooms that was starting to open. At first I thought it had finished blooming but the stamen are fresh.
This photo shows the hairy stems.
Another bloom beginning to open. This is younger than the bloom above. It was quite blue. The sepals of the young blooms are blue and fade to white as they age.
Each bloom has multiple ovaries. It would be interesting to see if these develop seeds.
I looked around for more plants. I’d been looking for the characteristic leaves that were quite prominent in December.
I spotted one.
The leaves have withered since last December.
There are two varieties of Hepatica nobilis – Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Roundlobed Hepatica) and Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Sharplobe hepatica). Both varieties are found throughout the eastern United States and Canada. The Roundlobed Hepatica appears to be found further south in Georgia than the Sharplobe Hepatica, the latter being found only in far northern counties. Both varieties bloom in March.
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United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:
- Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Roundlobe Hepatica)
- Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Sharplobe Hepatica)
University of North Carolina Herbarium:
- Anemone americana
- Anemone acutiloba
Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:
- Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Round-lobed Hepatica, Round-lobed Liverleaf)
- Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Sharp-lobed Hepatica, Sharp-lobed Liverleaf)
- Dawson Forest WMA: Road to the Roundlobed Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa)
- Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, Atlanta Tract: Mill Road and Railroad Road