Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom | Round-lobed Hepatica

March 27, 2020

Round-lobed Hepatica (Anemone americana).

We were pleased to find 2 hepaticas yesterday. Their unique pale purple caught our attention amidst the blanket of spring beauties (Claytonia virginica – perhaps the focus of a future post) nearby. All of these early spring flowers are a spectacular sight to see and not just for us but also for some of the first emerging bees of springtime. .

Hepatica flowers in particular attract small carpenter bees (Ceratina spp. – and no, these are not the larger carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica that may be familiar visitors of many wooden porches) as well as sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.) and sometimes mining bees (Andrena spp.). The open flowers provide nutritious white pollen that feeds these hungry visitors and provisions their nests. Interestingly hepatica flowers do not produce nectar, which would be an unnecessary energy expenditure at this cooler and darker time of year when opportunities for photosynthesis are more limited. To protect their valuable pollen, the flowers close at night and in rainy weather and if they do not receive pollinator visitors they can ultimately self-pollinate. .

We would love to hear from you. Have you found round-lobed (or sharp-lobed) hepatica blooming around your homes?

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