Pinkish blue, or white.
Flowers: solitary; growing on long scapes. Calyx: of six, or more coloured sepals which are frequently mistaken for petals, as the involucre is inconspicuous and adheres closely to the flowers in the manner of sepals. Petals: none. Stamens: numerous, Pistils: numerous. Leaves: from the root; rounded; three-lobed; mottled with purple; evergreen. Scape: covered with a fuzz.
"Brave little wilding, herald of the spring !
First of the beauteous tribes that soon will troop Singly, in pairs, or in a joyous group, O'er sunny slope or sheltered bank; or cling, By their slight fibres, where the bluebird's wing Alone can visit them with graceful swoop ! "
Eliza Allen Starr.
Father Winter is hardly well on his homeward journey when we go to the woods or banks and notice a subtle fragrance hovering about the air. Led by it we direct our steps and find almost hidden by dead leaves, or perhaps by snow, our lovely hepatica. It has pushed up its delicate bloom through the rusty-looking leaves that have remained over the winter, as though impatient to be the first to greet the spring. The new leaves appear later in the season. Perhaps down below they and the blossoms had a little disagreement about just when was the proper time to arrive at the flower carnival and the leaves scoffed at the idea of being first, so they delayed in getting ready, and the flowers came on alone. Neither were they imprudent; the buds and stems are well wrapped up in a heavy fuzz that protects them from the cold. They knew better than the leaves how glad we all should be to see them here.
Mr. Gibson regarded them as our earliest spring flowers.