Dicentra Cucullaria (2-spurred). - Family, Fumitory. Color, white, tipped with pale yellow. Sepals, 2, small, scale-like. Petals, 4, slightly joined; the 2 outer forming 2 spurs, spreading apart, longer than the short flower-stalk. Stamens, 6, Pistil, 1. Leaves, on slender petioles, from rootstocks, thrice - compound and variously cut into long and narrow divisions. April.
Rich woods in the Northern States, as far south as South Carolina. The plant grows from a scaly bulb, composed of grain-like tubers.
The odd flowers grow in a raceme on leafless scapes. One of the prettiest of our wood-dwellers. Is it a mere coincidence that so many of our early spring flowers are of the fragile, delicate sort, while summer and autumn bring heavier bloom, as if the nature hand were at first hesitating and timid, and later acquired a bolder stroke? The wild sunflower, for example, with bur-marigolds and tall asters, can only be associated with fall, while saxifrages, violets, spring beauties, hepaticas, fumitory, and pale corydalis seem from their very nature to be blown from the breath of spring. (See illustration, p. 78.)
A cultivated species of this Family, Dielytra, is well known from its blood-red, spurred, heart-shaped corolla. One of its common names is bleeding heart.
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra Cucullaria)