Family

Fumitory.

Colour

White and yellow.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Mostly north.

Time of Bloom

April, May.

Flowers: growing in a one-sided raceme on a naked scape. Calyx: of two scale-like sepals. Corolla: somewhat heart-shaped, of four closed, cohering petals; the inner ones enclosing the anthers and stigma; the two outer, larger ones extending into widely spreading spurs that suggest its name. Stamens: six. Pistil: one. Leaves: from the base; growing on slender petioles; thrice compound and irregularly cut. Scape: slender; smooth. Rootstock: a scaly bulb; slightly tuberous.

When the soft, warm days of spring load the air with a subtle fragrance, those among us that are so fortunately placed as to make it possible, wander to the woods in search of its early bloom. And there we find the Dutchman's breeches. Staid old soul as the Dutchman is, he must really have been surprised at the naming of this etherial plant after his trousers. It is true that under mitigating circumstances they have gained an entrance into art, but never before have they been known to mingle with the sweet world of flowers. The plants, however, would scorn any idea of snobbery; and it is said with much trepidation that the name of white hearts is infinitely prettier, and it would seem a trifle more appropriate.

Dutchman s Breeches White Hearts Soldiers Caps Bic 166

We know that we ought not to pick these quaint blossoms; every botany in the land will tell us so. We should leave them to be visited by their own insects and to be cross-fertilized, that the species may continue among us. But we sometimes resist doing just what is right; and sad though it be, it is certainly true that few among us have sufficient hardihood to wander back from the spring woods without just one little spray of this flower. It nods to us all the way home; it stimulates our interest in all that grows; and it looks so pretty in the little vase that suits it well.

Squirrel Corn. Bicuculla Canadensis

These little pink and green blossoms are nearly related to the Dutchman's breeches. The rootstock bears small tubers that are not unlike grains of corn. The bloom has a delicate, hyacinth-like fragrance. Their home is in the northern woods.