Last weekend we went back in the woods; late fall is strangely similar with the month of April. If you ignore a few remnant fruits, all that is green on the woodland floor is represented by Hepaticas and mosses. Having had a very wet fall, there were quite a few of them, like green pets erupting from underneath the leaf carpet, asking to have their green fur stroked. Many others were on rocks, rotten logs…
Most Hepaticas grown underneath deciduous trees (ie. that get a fair amount of sun in early spring and fall), develop an interesting marbled foliage by late fall. In areas with large populations it is easy to observe variations not only in the flowers but also in foliage colouration. Like last year, we went scouting for interesting forms and the same plants I had admired for their marbled foliage last year, presented now the exact colouration pattern.
So, I maintain my opinion that a genetic component might be involved in the foliage colouration, which may be also true about the amount of leaf hairiness (actually Hepatica leaves are described as villous = with soft, long hairs).
In the featured image – backlit leaves of a Hepatica acutiloba in the garden. This is one of the most villous (long, soft hairs) H. acutiloba I have ever seen, with a delightful foliage from early spring to fall! Usually it’s not that shaggy looking, but it’s been through rough times over the last couple of years.