Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hacquetia epipactis

Hacquetia epipactis with anenomes

Hacquetia epipactis with corydalis solida

Hacquetia epipactis closeup

Hacquetia epipactis 'Thor"- Photo courtesy of Kelly Dodson
     After a hiatus from last summer, I am continuing my blog posts.  It's a long story so I won't bother you with the details now.  Suffice it to say that I want to tell you about one of my favorite little woodland plants--Hacquetia epipactis.  This is a plant that Kelly Dodson introduced me to many years ago, and I have now worked up my stock of it so that I have achieved that much to be desired state--mass quantities of hacquetias!
     This is a small plant, about the size of an hepatica, if you are familiar with those.  In fact, hepaticas are good companion plants for hacquetias because they like the same conditions and they bloom about the same time.  There is nothing better (all right, there may be a few things better) than a swath of hacquetias blooming with their chartreuse glow alongside a swath of blue or pink hepaticas. Other good campanion plants for hacquetias are, as you can see from the pictures above, corydalis solida, especially the pink or reddish versions, and blue anenomes. They also make good ground cover plants to surround the taller trilliums and hellebores.
     I have found hacquetias to be very forgiving plants in terms of the conditions that they will grow in.  I have grown them in quite dark shade and they have done well.  Likewise, dry shade doesn't seem to bother them.  I have also grown them in almost full sun and they have done well, although their foliage droops a bit on those few hot days we have.  Of course, they are most luxuriant when they are gown in good rich somewhat moist but well drained soil in partial open shade.  But don't all woodland plants do best in those conditions? 
     Hacquetias are one of the first, if not the first, of the little woodland plants to bloom in the spring, and their bloom period lasts for a relatively long time.  Technically, I think most of the show comes from bracts or some such thing rather than what botanists call flowers, but those distinctions don't really much concern me.  This is the only plant in its genus, but there is a variegated form called 'Thor', pictured above, which is to die for.  The picture of 'Thor' above is of a plant  growing at Far Reaches Farm, so presumably, 'Thor' will be available to the hoi polloi at sometime in the future.
     Hacquetias can be divided, although I have never done that.  My hacquetias create enough self sown seedlings to satisfy my desire for new ones.  The self sowing, while adequate for plenty of new plants, is not enough to qualify hacquetias as noxious weeds, however.
     After the bloom period of hacquetia is done, the foliage takes over, and you will be glad to know that it is nice and neat foliage and lasts well for the rest of the year.  That makes hacquetia an excellent addition to the woodland garden.  Hacquetias are not commonly found in nurseries, although every once in while a retail nursery, particularly a good one like Swanson's or Wells-Medina in the Seattle area, will have them.  Far Reaches, of course, carries them, and you may also find them at nurseries which specialize in little woodland plants.


  1. I missed you and am glad you're back! Hope this means that whatever it is that kept you from posting is getting better! What a cool plant and one thnat's new to me. Thanks for posting about it!

  2. So glad to see you back Linda !

  3. Do you know where I can purchase Hacquetia epipactis ?