The alluring Hepatica flowers from February to March and is the perfect spring jewel for any garden. Often found in the wild emerging through snow Hepaticas are part of the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family. For this reason they look similar to wood anemone with the characteristic three lobed leaves. The attractive small flowers are native to woodlands in Central and North Europe, Asia and North America.
The subtle flowers come in shades of white, purple, crimson, and blue. In Japan new double forms are being developed for cultivation. The European native species typically grow in dappled woodland and work well in your garden under trees and shrubs. H.americana and H.acutiloba were commonly used for medicinal purposes and were referred to as liverwort due to their leaf appearance. Try mixing them with other spring bulbs as companions and extending seasonal interest in your garden. They do not do well in highly competitive areas but good companions are hellebores, scilla, wood anemones and trilliums.
Ashwood Nurseries is a UK based plant nursery that specialises in this genus. They supply fresh seed and have won an impressive collection of RHS Gold Medals.