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Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis


Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) or liverleaf is an early bloomer, flowering as early as late February in southern parts of Ohio. Hepatica is found in woodlands throughout the state. Flower color varies from white to bluish or pinkish. Hepatica’s three-lobed leaves resemble the shape of a human liver, which makes it a classic example of the Doctrine of Signatures. Medieval physicians thought the outward appearance of plants provided a divine sign of their healing properties. Before modern medicine, hepatica was used to treat ailments of the liver, but the plant is no longer used as an herbal remedy. Its leaves appear after the flowers and persist through the winter. A common woodland sight, hepatica grows at many state nature preserves including Shallenberger in Fairfield County, Fowler Woods in Richland County and Clifton Gorge in Greene County.


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