Sharp-Lobed Hepatica

Hepatica acutiloba Ranunculaceae

Other names

Pointed-Lobed Hepatica

Growth habit




Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region


A 3-6" tall plant with white (sometimes pink) flowers and three-lobed leaves.
Light: shade to part shade
Moisture and Soil: dry to moist well-drained soil


Seed Treatment and Storage: Keep seeds moist. Sow immediately or warm/moist then cold/moist stratification

Biocultural value

The Haudenosaunee, Menominee, Cherokee, and Meskwaki all used sharp-lobed hepatica. The Haudenosaunee and Cherokeee both employed a decoction of the plant as an analgesic. One or more of the above groups also used decoctions or infusions of the plant as a gynecological aid, gastrointestinal medicine, contraceptive, and pediatric remedy.

The statements above were sourced from:

Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.BRIT Native American Ethnobotany

Wildlife value

Hepatica blooms so early that butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds are not present for pollination. Instead, the plant's nectarless flowers are primarily pollinated by small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.) and sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.). Mining bees (Andrena spp.) occasionally pollinate these flowers but prefer nectar-producing plants that flower concurrently (e.g., trout lilies - Erythronium spp.).

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Hepatica acutiloba bloomed an average of 11.6 days earlier.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Coy Glen, McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Ringwood Ponds, South Hill Swamp, Tarr-Young Preserve

Special characteristics

Hepatica's evergreen, three-lobed leaves have long been associated with the liver, or Hepatic system, under the “Doctrine of Signatures” approach to medicine. Hepatica flowers have no nectar, but the pollen is important food for native bees.