This plant’s common names are Liverleaf and Liverwort.
The Cherokee used Hepatica in several different ways. They used an infusion of the plant to cause vomiting to relieve abdominal pain. A compound infusion was used to treat swollen breasts. A compound infusion was used to treat poor digestion and an infusion was also used as a laxative. In additions to these uses the Cherokee would also use Hepatica to induce vomiting to take away bad snake dreams.
Hepatica is a perennial that can grow from 2 to 12 inches but here in our area is generally grows from 2 to 3 inches in height. It has horizontal rhizomes or root system this is where the leaves and flowers sprout from. The leaves are wide, thick and leather like. The flowers bloom over last years leaves and after the flowers have bloomed the old leaves fall off and new leaves emerge. The blooming normally start in March and can last for a couple of months. There are few insects to pollinate at this time of the year so this plant is able to self pollinate. The blooms are generally white but can also be lavender. The Hepatica in our garden has lavender blooms as shown in the picture above.
This plant likes part shade with medium moisture. In the wild these plants can be found growing near Oak, Maple, and American Beech trees but the can also be found in pasture areas. This plant will give you early color even when it is still cold outside.