Monday, March 31, 2008

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches

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, although I don't know how rich and loamy the soil is in ledge crevice where the individual shown above is trying to grow.



Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love these little breeches. Ours (at the park) are beginning to bud. No real blooms yet but it won't be long. If we ever get a warm day with sun many things are just ready to pop open.

Anonymous said...

Love Dutchman's Breeches and I can't say that ours are even peaking out of the ground yet! LOL! Keep up with these great photos!

Cathy said...

What a lovely picture. The contrast between the old rock and the ephemeral flower.

Just reading the word 'loamy' made me homesick for Spring.

lisa said...

Amazing to see it growing in a rock like that!

Tom Arbour said...

Marvin, again you keep showing us up! Your breeches look like they are about to fall down to the ground- they've been up and out of the earth song long. (they get that pinkish color when they get old).