Mar 4, 2008 Lynda Twardowski
Skip Moody/Dembinsky Photo Associates
When the weather turned cold last winter, the broad, verdant leaves of Hepatica acutiloba turned russet and purple, but their lack of green didn't mean they quit working. Even under the snow, Hepatica leaves channel sustenance - enough so that the moment spring breaks, the plant's flowers are among the first to burst.Beloved by Girls Wearing Bloomers:
Because Hepatica's leaves are shaped like the human liver, with three lobes, the plant was made famous by 17th-century folks who believed it could cure disorders of the liver, including freckles and liverspots. In 1859, it was the major ingredient in Dr. Roder's Liverwort and Tar Sirrup.