Common name: Hacquetia
Hacquetia epipactis, a small delightful perennial, is flourishing in our Woodland Garden. You can see its flower in late winter peeking out of old leaves and debris. From a distance each flower appears to have six green petals and a small center of yellow flowers. But the actual flowers are the tiny pin-head like yellow blooms and the green petals are bracts. After flowering, hacquetia grows a little taller, and three-lobed basal leaves form.
It is a slow-growing perennial and forms a clump spread by short rhizomes. Hacquetia can grow up to 10 cm/3 in tall and 30 cm/12 in wide. It is easy to walk by this tiny plant. But once you spot it, you keep finding more. Some of its flower clumps are half hidden under the leaves of bigger plants.
Hacquetia is native to the woodlands in the European Alps and is the only species in its genus. The genus name honours Balthasar Hacquet (1740-1815), an Austrian writer on alpine plants. The specific epithet ‘epipactis’ comes from the Greek word for plants thought to curdle milk.
The pictures were taken in VanDusen on the trail through the Woodland Garden in late winter and early spring.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones