Aerial shoots 5-19 cm, from rhizomes, rhizomes ascending to horizontal. Basal leaves 3-15, often purplish abaxially, simple, deeply divided; petiole 3-19 cm; leaf blade widely orbiculate, 1.3-8 × 1.8- -11.5 cm, base cordate, margins entire, apex acute or acuminate, surfaces strongly villous to glabrescent; lobes 3(-5), deltate, 0.7-4 cm wide; middle lobe 70-90% of total blade length. Inflorescences 1-flowered, villous to pilose; involucral bracts 3, 1-tiered, simple, dissimilar to basal leaves, lanceolate to ovate, 0.53-1.8 × 0.27-0.95 cm, sessile, calyx-like, closely subtending flowers, bases distinct, cuneate, margins entire, apex acute, strongly villous to glabrescent. Flowers: sepals 5-12, white to pink or bluish, ovate to obovate, 6-14.6 × 2.2-5.8 mm, glabrous; petals absent; stamens 10-30. Heads of achenes spheric; pedicel 0.1-0.4 cm. Achenes: body narrowly ovoid, 3.5-4.7 × 1.3-1.9 mm, slightly winged, hispid, gradually tapering; beak indistinct. 2 n =14. Flowering spring. Deciduous woods, often in calcareous soils; 0-1200 m; Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.H., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. In North America, Anemone acutiloba and A . americana are sufficiently well differentiated to enable the distinction of the two species. Some intermediates do occur but it is uncertain as to whether these are true intermediates or hybrids. The fact that the two species are highly sympatric and still maintain their differences implies that they should still be recognized as distinctive species (see G.L. Stebbins 1993).
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent to frequent throughout the state except in the prairie area. The hepaticas are strictly woodland plants. This species is generally found in rich soil on wooded slopes and these most frequently near streams. The flowers vary from white to pink and purple. The leaves of both of our hepaticas vary in color from green to green mottled with maroon. Some authors regard H. acutiloba as only a variety of the next species, but it is entirely distinct although the characters separating it are difficult to describe. The leaves and achenes of Hepatica acutiloba are slightly larger than those of Hepatica americana. This species is a lime loving plant while the next prefers a slightly acid soil and this requirement, I believe, excludes it or makes it rare in southern Indiana.
Indiana Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 8
Wetland Indicator Status: N/A
Diagnostic Traits: Plants <20 cm; leaves all basal, 3-lobed, longer than broad, angles acute; flowers solitary, blue, white, or pink, subtended by 3 bracts; perianth of ca. 5-6 sepals.
Much like H. americana and hybridizing, but maintaining its identity; lvs 3-lobed or occasionally 5-7-lobed, deeply cordate at the base, the lobes broad, acute; length of the lf blade about 3 times the distance from the summit of the petiole to the sinuses; bracts acute, about equaling the sep. Similar habitats; Que. to Minn., s. to Ga., Ala., and Mo. Mar., Apr. (H. nobilis var. acuta)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.