Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) is one of the earliest Smoky Mountains wildflowers. The pictures above and below were taken on March 8th along the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail. On that day Hepatica was the only one of the wildflowers to be seen on the trail!
Hepatica is a member of the buttercup family and comes in two varieties in the Smoky Mountains: sharp-lobed (picture above) and round-lobed (picture below). These terms refer to the shape of the leaf. The plant can be found in rich woodlands and banks. A petite single bloom with 5-12 sepals sits atop a hairy stem. It’s really hard to miss these wildflowers when almost nothing else is blooming!
The word Hepatica means “of the liver.” These wildflowers are often called Liverwort and were presumed to have curative effects for ailments of the liver. The color of the bloom ranges from white to pink, lavender, purple and pale blue. The plant and bloom are quite tiny and might be nearly invisible were it not for the bare landscape at the time of their blooming.
If I don’t see you out on the wildflowers trails, please stop in at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg in the Morning Mist Village Shops on Glades Rd. My complete collection of Smoky Mountains pictures is on display.