Range and Habitat in Illinois
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Most of eastern North America: Quebec and Labrador to MN, to GA, AL, and MO.
River. Extending from Ontario, Quebec, and Maine [8,15,18], it proceeds
south through the eastern United States to Missouri, Georgia, and
Occurrence in North America
MN NH NJ NY NC OH PA RI SC TN
VT VA WV WI ON PQ
inches (5-18 cm) tall . Three leaves arise from the plant base.
Leaves are simple but deeply lobed. The three leaves are longer than
they are wide, with acutely pointed lobe tips and indented (cordate)
bases [6,15,18]. Long, hairy flowerstalks have a single small (0.05-0.1
inch [12-25 mm]) flower. Achenes are very hairy.
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Comments: Rich woods, mountains.
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
K099 Maple - basswood forest
K102 Beech - maple forest
K103 Mixed mesophytic forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest
rolling hills to bluffs and outcroppings . It occurs on soils of low
fertility and low moisture-holding capacity (e.g. sandy loam) to
calcareous moist upland woods [3,8]. Sharp-lobed hepatica is often
found on north-facing wooded slopes .
Species associated with sharp-lobed hepatica are those found in upland
mesic deciduous forests. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is often dominant
with red elm (Ulmus rubra) and basswood (Tilia americana) . Of the
numerous herbaceous species, the dominant plants are eastern
springbeauty (Claytonia virginica), catchweed bedstraw (Galium aparine),
recurved wakerobin (Trillium recurvatum), common mayapple (Podophyllum
pedatum), and black snakeroot (Sanicula gregaria) .
This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
24 Hemlock - yellow birch
25 Sugar maple - beech
26 Sugar maple - basswood
27 Sugar maple
28 Black cherry - maple
60 Beech - sugar maple
108 Red maple
Key Plant Community Associations
Flower-Visiting Insects of Sharp-Lobed Hepatica in Illinois
(Bees collect pollen or explore the flowers in vain for nectar; flies feed on pollen or explore the flowers in vain for nectar; one observation is from Graenicher, otherwise they are from Robertson; Robertson thought the flowers of Hepatica offer nectar to insect visitors, but this is not correct)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera cp fq; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata exp/cp
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum imitatus cp/exp, Lasioglossum versatus cp/exp; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis cp/exp; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini cp/exp, Andrena erythronii cp/exp, Andrena mandibularis cp/exp, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata cp/exp, Andrena rugosa cp/exp fq, Andrena tridens cp/exp
Syrphidae: Brachypalpus oarus fp fq, Eristalis dimidiatus fp, Eupeodes americanus fp; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major exp/fp fq (Rb, Gr); Tachinidae: Gonia capitata fp/exp; Muscidae: Neomyia cornicina exp/fp fq; Anthomyiidae: Delia platura exp/fp
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Plant Response to Fire
Fire severity and rooting depth of caudex and rhizomes control the
recovery of sharp-lobed hepatica. Surviving rhizomes probably sprout
and produce leaves postfire. Sharp-lobed hepatica grows vigorously in
sparsely vegetated areas with freed nutrients (e.g., ant hills high in
nitrogen and phosphorus) . It probably will flower and produce seed
in the first postfire year. Long-term postfire recovery should be
fairly successful. Sharp-lobed hepatica reproduces vegetatively by
short rhizomes, ensuring on-site colony growth. Sexual reproduction
results in seeds that are readily transported by ants and rodents, which
ensures wide areas of dispersal .
Immediate Effect of Fire
probably top-killed by fire. Rhizomes probably would survive.
Seedlings most likely would be killed. If the lipid sack (eliasome)
attached to the seed burns, the seed probably dies.
Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
Secondary colonizer - off-site seed
Occurring in mixed mesophytic forest, sharp-lobed hepatica has evolved
with fire. The degree of resistance sharp-lobed hepatica has to fire
depends upon the protection its caudex and rhizomes receive from soil
More info for the terms: climax, importance value
Obligate Climax Series
Sharp-lobed hepatica occurs in late-intermediate to early climax forests
of sugar maple (Acer saccharum), basswood (Tilia americana), yellow
birch (Betula alleghaniensis), and white ash (Fraxinus americana)
[4,20]. Daubenmire  also reported sharp-lobed hepatica present in
subclimax associations of red oak (Quercus rubra), white oak (Quercus
alba), and aspen (Populus tremuloides). Although an early vernal
species, it is shade tolerant. It occurs infrequently; Brundrett and
Kendrick  reported 0.22 percent importance value for sharp-lobed
hepatica in Ontario forests.
Mature achenes form aggregates. Seeds are carried away from the parent
plant by ants and rodents. Ant dispersal is most successful for
establishment in young sparse populations. Seedling establishment is
low in older dense populations of sharp-lobed hepatica .
Seeds have epicotyl dormancy which requires a warm stratification .
This is followed by a cold stratification of 2 to 3 months before
cotyledons emerge .
Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
Life History and Behavior
Thick leaves are kept through the winter on this clonal perennial,
allowing photosynthesis to begin quickly in the spring before the canopy
closes . With this physiological jump-start, sharp-lobed hepatica
flowers from February to June throughout its range [6,8,9,13,16,18].
After flowering, the overwintering leaves become senescent, and new
leaves are produced. The new leaves are more shade tolerant and,
therefore, more efficient at light harvesting . Seeds mature
approximately 1 month after flowering . Sharp-lobed hepatica
remains green when all other herbs have senesced in the fall.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Anemone acutiloba
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anemone acutiloba
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
literature. However, as a rhizomatous perennial, it could be used as a
soil stabilizer in shaded habitats.
The two North American species formerly placed in Hepatica are closely allied to the Eurasian Anemone hepatica Linnaeus [= Hepatica nobilis Miller, Hepatica hepatica (Linnaeus) Karst]. Among European collections, plants approach either A . acutiloba or A . americana in leaf morphology, but some intermediates are found (J. A. Steyermark and C. S. Steyermark 1960). North American plants differ from A . hepatica in having narrower sepals, larger involucral bracts, and shorter and less pubescent scapes. Further research, including a comparative study of breeding systems, is needed to clarify the relationship between Anemone hepatica , A . acutiloba , and A . americana . Pending such work, the eastern North American hepaticas are here recognized as distinct species.
D. E. Moerman (1986) lists Hepatica acutiloba as one of the plants used medicinally by Native Americans in the treatment of abdominal pains, poor digestion, and constipation, as a wash for "twisted mouth or crossed eyes," and as a gynecological aid.
Names and Taxonomy
The currently accepted scientific name of sharp-lobed hepatica is
Hepatica acutiloba DC. There has been disagreement in the literature
about retaining this name. Steyermark and Steyermark  synonymized
this entity as a form of Hepatica nobilis Schreb. var. acuta. However,
other authors do not agree [6,16].
Five recognized forms are based on differences in leaf lobes and sepal
Hepatica acutiloba f. acutiloba R. Hoffm.
Hepatica acutiloba f. diversiloba Raymond
Hepatica acutiloba f. albiflora R. Hoffm.
Hepatica acutiloba f. rosea R. Hoffm.
Hepatica acutiloba f. plena Fern.
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