Bringing colour to spring

Hepaticas blooming in Mustavuori © Jussi Helimäki

In Helsinki, hepaticas (Hepatica nobilis), which flower early in spring, can most commonly be found in Mustavuori and Central Park, in the hillside herb-rich forest of Pitkäkoski. Hepatica leaves remain green over the winter and only wilt on the second summer after flowering. The hepatica needs ants to transport its seeds to new growth sites.

Hepaticas have traditionally been used to treat liver and kidney disorders, but nowadays they are known to be highly poisonous. In rare cases, hepaticas may grow white or red flowers. Flore pleno variants are even rarer. Hepatica cultivars are sold as seedlings in garden shops.