Anemone hepatica

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Hepatica nobilis Schreb. is a synonym of this plant; not to be confused with Hepatica nobilis Mill.
Anemone hepatica
Hepatica nobilis plant.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Anemone
Species: 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 (Common Hepatica, liverwort,[2] kidneywort, pennywort) is a herbaceous perennial growing from a rhizome in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), native to woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.


The taxonomy of the genus Anemone and its species is not fully resolved, but the latest phylogenetic studies of many species of Anemone and related genera[3] indicate that Hepatica should be included under Anemone because of similarities both in molecular attributes and other shared morphologies.[4]


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 (2.8–3.5 in) wide and 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 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.



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

  • Anemone hepatica var. acuta
  • Anemone hepatica var. japonica
  • Anemone hepatica var. transylvanica


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


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.[5]

Political associations[edit]

It is the official flower of the Sweden Democrats political party in Swedish politics. In Swedish the flower is known as blåsippa.

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

It is found in the woods, thickets and meadows, especially in the mountains of continental Europe.


  1. ^ a b "The Plant List: A Working List of all Plant Species". 
  2. ^ Horace Kephart (1936). "Early Spring Flowers of the North Carolina Mountains". The Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Club 1 (7): 77–83. 
  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. ^ Flora of North America
  5. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987); p.161–2
  • Pignatti S. - Flora d'Italia - Edagricole – 1982 Vol. I pag. 277

External links[edit]