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Facts & Profile
Anemone hepatica (syn. Hepatica nobilis), the common hepatica, liverwort, kidneywort, or pennywort, is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This herbaceous perennial grows from a rhizome.
Description & appearance
Anemone hepatica grows 5–15 cm (2–6 in) high. Leaves and flowers emerge directly from the rhizome, not from a stem above ground.
The leaves have three lobes and are fleshy and hairless, 7–9 cm (2 3⁄4–3 1⁄2 in) wide and 5–6 cm (2–2 1⁄4 in) long . The upper side is dark green with whitish stripes and the lower side is violet or reddish brown. Leaves emerge during or after flowering and remain green through winter.
The flowers are blue, purple, pink, or white and appear in winter or spring. They have five to ten oval showy sepals and three green bracts.
Hepatica flowers produce pollen but no nectar. In North America, the flowers first attract Lasioglossum sweat bees and small carpenter bees looking in vain for nectar. Then when the stamens begin to release pollen, the bees return to collect and feed on pollen. Mining bees sometimes visit the flowers, but prefer flowers that produce both nectar and pollen.
Distribution & habitat
It is found in woods, thickets and meadows, especially in the mountains of continental Europe, North America and Japan.
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