Species Name: Hepatica acutiloba, Hepatica americana
Common Name: Sharp-lobed hepatica, Liverwort, Round lobed hepatica
Zone: 3 to 8
Distribution: throughout New York state, Quebec south to Georgia west to Minnesota.
Seed collection: Collect seed during the last week in May, in upstate New York. Date of seed maturity can vary from year to year by a week or more based on weather and temperature. Seed changes color only slightly when mature, turning from green to a yellowish green, so color change is not a good indicator of maturity. The best indicator of when to collect seed is when the seed separates easily from the plant when touched; then collect all of the seed.
Seed handling: Seed can be planted immediately after collecting or stratified for storage and planting the following spring. Placing seed directly into the soil gives good results. The seed is small so do not plant too deep. Sow seed in rich well drained soil augmented with organic matter.
Germination requirements: Seed requires a period of warm/moist stratification followed by cold/moist stratification to overcome seed dormancy. Seed should germinate the first spring if planted immediately after collecting or given the proper sequence of warm/cold stratification. For natural seed propagation plant the seed in native soil where ever you want to grow the plant. Press the seed into the soil surface but not deeper than ½”. Plants will be quite small with just one or two true leaves the first year.
Ecology: In the wild hepatica seed is ant dispersed. Hepatica is a relatively small plant and easily gets lost amongst its larger plant neighbors. Hepatica forms a small mound and seems to be relatively long lived. It grows in rich limestone soils often in association with trillium, wild ginger and other low growing woodland flowers. As it grows only about 8” tall it is often found on slopes where the leaf litter does not accumulate. Hepatica is never a common plant in the woodland plant community or play a dominant ecological role in nature but it is a lovely plant to see in the wild and will add biological diversity to your woodland.
Harvest seeds as soon as they easily dislodge whne touched.
this page updated February 5, 2011