Liverwort or hepatica (Hepatica) ordinary and noble

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The liverwort, copse or hepatica (Hepatica) is a genus of perennial herbs of the buttercup family, grows in the forests of the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Used in decorative floriculture.

  • Family: buttercup.
  • Origin: Northern Hemisphere.
  • Rhizome: short, tuberous.
  • Stem: straight.
  • Leaves: petiolate, three-lobed.
  • Fruit: nut.
  • Reproductive ability: propagated by division of rhizomes, seeds.
  • Illumination: shade-tolerant.
  • Watering: moderate.
  • Content temperature: frost-resistant.
  • Flowering time: 3-4 weeks in April-May.

Description of the liverwort flower

An early-flowering perennial plant 15-20 cm high with a rosette of three-lobed, petiolate, pubescent leaves below, red-violet at the beginning of the growing season, then dark green, dense, leathery, in some wintering species. The flower of the liverwort, or hepatica, is blue, rarely white or pink, solitary, 2-4 cm in size, located on a straight pubescent bare peduncle, has the appearance of a cup with 6-10 petals. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Common decorative types of liverwort

The genus is not numerous, it includes, according to various classifications, from 2 to 10 species. In Russia, only the noble liverwort, or the common liverwort (H. Nobilis), grows in nature. This species with tripartite dense leaves on long petioles and single lilac flowers up to 4 cm in diameter feels good both in shady places and in lighted areas on loose, moderately moist soil. In culture, there are terry varieties of white, purple, pink, purple color. There are subspecies:

Asian liverwort (H. asiatica) , sometimes isolated as a separate species, grows in the Far East, in China, Korea, Japan, has white, pink, purple flowers, unlike the noble liverwort sheds leaves for the winter;

Japanese liverworts (H. japonica) and pubescent (H. pubescens) , the latter is distinguished by rounded leaves with a marbled pattern.

Liverworts sharp -lobed (H. autiloba) and blunt (H. autiloba, H. americana) , growing in America.

Its one European species, transylvanian liverwort (H. transsilvanica) , originally from the Carpathians, is distinguished by large blue or purple flowers and deeply incised trifoliate leaves.

In a separate species called the average liverwort (H. media) , a group of hybrids of the Transylvanian liverwort with other species is distinguished. These are plants with double flowers of blue, white, pink colors, blooming in April for a longer time than other garden forms.

To date, about 1000 varieties are known. Due to the difficulties with reproduction, prices for novelties reach 3,000 US dollars. Flowers are especially popular in Japan, where exhibitions of flowering liverworts are held annually, varieties have been created not only with double flowers of various colors, including two-color and three-color, but also with variegated foliage.

Photos of liverworts of various types and varieties are given below.

Cultivation and reproduction of the liverwort

The liverwort is a long-lived plant, its life expectancy can reach 25 years. Natural forms require specific conditions, more moist and fertile soil with the addition of peat and spruce needles, transplantation and division every 3-4 years. Garden varieties are less whimsical, develop well in the shade and in the open sun, in dry and moderately moist areas, can grow without dividing in one place for a long time.

All liverworts prefer light, well-fertilized soils with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction, and a semi-shady location. They can grow in significant shading and on alpine hills, near large stones, but in the sun the flowering time is reduced.

Flower liverwort in the photo.

The plant is weakly competitive; to obtain spectacular flowering curtains, it must be protected from intensively growing neighbors. Otherwise, care is not difficult, it consists in maintaining the soil in a moderately moist and weed-free state. For fertilizer at the end of winter, you can add bone or blood meal, at the end of summer – mineral top dressing with potassium and phosphorus. For the winter, mulching with neutral peat or leaf humus is recommended.

Propagated by division of rhizomes or seeds. Reproduction by seeds is difficult, they often fall unripe in early June, and in terry forms they are not tied at all. Sowing is carried out in June in a seedless way into the ground with freshly harvested seeds. Shoots will appear in a year, seedlings will bloom in 3-4 years.

Varieties, hybrids, sterile, including terry forms, are divided into parts in July-August, leaving at least 2-3 buds on each. Seated at a distance of 20 cm, watered and shaded. By autumn, delenki take root and usually bloom the next year.

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