Anemone hepatica
Hepatica nobilis plant.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Anemone
A. hepatica
Binomial name
Anemone hepatica
    • Anemone acuta (Pursh) Vail. ex Britton
    • Anemone acutiloba (DC.) G.Lawson
    • Anemone praecox Salisb.
    • Anemone transylvanica Heuff.
    • Anemone triloba Stokes
    • Hepatica acuta (Pursh) Britton
    • Hepatica acutiloba DC.
    • Hepatica anemonoides Vest
    • Hepatica asiatica Nakai
    • Hepatica hepatica (L.) H.Karst. nom. inval.
    • Hepatica hepatica var. albiflora (R.Hoffm.) Farw.
    • Hepatica insularis Nakai
    • Hepatica nobilis Schreb. non Mill.
    • Hepatica nobilis f. acutiloba (DC.) Beck
    • Hepatica nobilis f. albiflora (R.Hoffm.) Steyerm.
    • Hepatica nobilis f. hypopurpurea (Makino) Nakai
    • Hepatica nobilis f. lutea Kadota
    • Hepatica nobilis f. plena (Fernald) Steyerm.
    • Hepatica nobilis f. pubescens (M.Hiroe) Kadota
    • Hepatica nobilis f. rosea (R.Hoffm.) Steyerm.
    • Hepatica nobilis f. variegata (Makino) Nakai
    • Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Pursh) Steyerm.
    • Hepatica nobilis var. asiatica (Nakai) H.Hara
    • Hepatica nobilis var. japonica Nakai
    • Hepatica nobilis var. nipponica Nakai
    • Hepatica triloba Choix

Anemone hepatica (syn. Hepatica nobilis), the common hepatica, liverwort,[2]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.


Blue and pink flowered hepatica
White flowered hepatica

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+343+12 in) wide and 5–6 cm (2–2+14 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.[citation needed]


The taxonomy of the genus Anemone and its species is not fully resolved, but phylogenetic studies of many species of Anemone and related genera[3] indicate that species of the genus Hepatica should be included under Anemone because of similarities both in molecular attributes and other shared morphologies.[4] The circumscription of the taxon is also debated, some authors listing the North American var. acuta[5] and var. obtusa,[6] while other list them as the separate species A. acutiloba and A. americana, respectively.[7]


Varieties of Anemone hepatica that are sometimes recognized include:[1]

Distribution and habitat

It is found in woods, thickets and meadows, especially in the mountains of continental Europe, North America and Japan.[citation needed]


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.[12][dubious ]


Like other Ranunculaceae, fresh liverwort contains protoanemonin and is therefore slightly toxic. By drying the herb, protoanemonin is dimerized to the non-toxic anemonin.[citation needed]


Medieval herbalists believed it could be used to treat liver diseases, and is still used in alternative medicine today. Other modern applications by herbalists include treatments for pimples, bronchitis and gout.[13]

Under the name Hepatica nobilis, which is now regarded as a synonym, this plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[14]


It is the official flower of the Sweden Democrats political party in Swedish politics.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Anemone hepatica L." World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ Horace Kephart (1936). "Early Spring Flowers of the North Carolina Mountains". The Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club. 1 (7): 77–83. doi:10.2307/4031043. JSTOR 4031043.
  3. ^ Sara B. Hoot; Anton A. Reznicek; Jeffrey D. Palmer (January–March 1994). "Phylogenetic Relationships in Anemone (Ranunculaceae) Based on Morphology and Chloroplast DNA". Systematic Botany. 19 (1): 169–200. doi:10.2307/2419720. JSTOR 2419720.
  4. ^ Dutton, Bryan E.; Keener, Carl S.; Ford, Bruce A. (1997). "Anemone". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ "Anemone hepatica var. acuta (Pursh) Pritz. — The Plant List". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  6. ^ "Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Pursh) Steyerm. — The Plant List". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  7. ^ "GRIN-Global Web v". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  8. ^ "Hepatica nobilis var. japonica Nakai". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Anemone hepatica var. japonica - Hortipedia". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  10. ^ "Hepatica acutiloba DC.". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Hepatica americana (DC.) Ker Gawl.". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  12. ^ Heather Holm (2014). Pollinators on Native Plants. Minnetonka, MN: Pollinator Press. pp. 140–141.
  13. ^ Howard, Michael (1987). Traditional Folk Remedies. Century. pp. 161–2.
  14. ^ "Hepatica nobilis". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  • Pignatti, S. (1982). Flora d'Italia. 1. Edagricole. p. 277.

External links