Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)



My best shot at an ID: Dicentra cucullaria
Plant family: Fumariaceae (Fumitory - Bleeding Heart)
Habitat: Rich moist woods, shaded ledges and banks, especially north slopes. Locally abundant especially the mountains.
Range: North Dakota to Quebec and south as far as northern Georgia. Very scattered locations in the southern part of range. Also found in a few northwestern states.
Plant Type: Native perennial.
Flower description: The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to 1.75cm long (0.7 inches). Flowers actually have 4 petals, the inner ones are very small. The pair of outer petals form a swollen 'V' making the hanging flower look like a pair of breeches hung upside-down.
Lore: Native Americans used Dutchman's Breeches as a love potion and in making love charms.

We are pretty much at the southern limit of this unusual little flower's range. Jo and I have only found it growing in one location in the area we normal frequent. It's abundant exactly where the guide books say it should be: A rich woodland shaded by a ledge on a north slope.


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14 comments:

texwisgirl said...

Oh my gosh! I haven't seen these since I was a little girl in Wisconsin, walking thru the woods and creeks. But as soon as I saw the title of your post, I remembered EXACTLY what they were! Thanks for the greatness of transporting me back!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The little Dutchmen are showing their breeches here too. I am gonna post them too. Don't you just love em.

KaHolly said...

One of my favorite spring flowers to locate in the Maine woods. How beautiful! Ours are more yellow.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Ooo - one of my favorites, too. Probably because I've only seen them a couple times.

RedPat said...

Most of the bleeding hearts here are red but there are some white. My mother has them all over her garden since they seem to spread their seeds so well. I love them but we won't see them for a while yet - still too cold!

Pat - Arkansas said...

That is so beautiful! Good eyes, you two; nice capture, Jo.

Regina said...

Wow amazing bloom!

lotusleaf said...

Oh, what a beauty! I love native wild flowers.

guild-rez said...

Just lovely...
Wonderful picture!!

Sue Lukens Creasy said...

I've seen it on the top of a rich woodland shady site with goldenseal nearby.

Carver said...

Beautiful flower and great information too.

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous!

My flowers, have a lovely Sunday!

Louis la Vache said...

hee hee...
The flower is well-named!

Bill said...

Perfect shot, beautifully captured! This is the best photo of this plant that I've ever seen. Just gorgeous!