Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, formerly H. americana; Ranunculaceae (buttercup family)
Last week I was doing Photographer Yoga, trying to get some good pictures of a low-growing plant without trampling on anything (I must have looked ridiculous) when a soft voice said “find anything interesting?” Well, no, it was only Dutchman’s breeches, but this led to a nice converstaion with a lovely older couple (originally from Sweden) who also love hunting for wildflowers. They told me approximately where to find round-lobed hepatica, which I’ve never seen in the wild. But they didn’t give me much hope. “We look for it every year,” she said, “but every year there is less and less. It makes me sad.”
A few days later, checking an area to see if rue anemone was up yet (and once again testing Steve’s patience), I spotted something light blue with a distinctive leaf… ta da! Round-lobed hepatica. Not at all far from where the Swedish woman said it would be.
I was able to pay it forward when we got back to the parking lot. Another couple were watching a red-shoulder hawk in its nest. Thinking they were birders, I told them were to find a bald eagle nest. But ends up they were looking for wildflowers (and got distracted by the hawk, which happens to me, too), so I told them where to find the hepatica. They were thrilled. Then he said “tell it to Marney over there”, gesturing towards a Prius whose driver was watching us. Ends up Marney is the lady leading the wildflower walk I signed up for a few hours before, and also someone I knew from my Master Gardener days.
Small, happy world. And another plant checked off the list.
Here it is: