This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, dis, kentron, two-spurred, but originally misprinted Dielytra, and then supposed to be Dielytra). Fumariaceae; by some this family is combined with Papaveraceae. Charming hardy perennial plants with much-cut foliage, and clustered attractive flowers of interesting structure.
Herbs of various habit, erect, diffuse or climbing, often stemless, with rhizome horizontal and branching or more or less bulbous: leaves ternately compound or dissected: flowers rose-red, yellow or white in attractive racemes, very irregular, with 4 petals cohering into a heart-shaped or 2-spurred apparently gamopetalous corolla (the 2 outer petals oblong with spreading tips and spurred or saccate at base, the inner 2 narrow and clawed and crested or winged and more or less united over the stigma); sepals 2, very small, scale-like; stamens 6, in sets of 3; pistil 1-celled, with a 2-4-crested and sometimes 2-4-horned stigma, ripening into an oblong or linear 2-valved caps, bearing crested 6eeds; pedicels 2-bracted. - About 15 species, in N. Amer., W. Asia and the Himalayas. The names Bikukulla (or Bicuculla) and Capnorchis are older than Dicentra, but are rejected by the "nomina conser-vanda" list of the Vienna code.
Fig. 1255. Diascia Barberae. (Plant X 1/3)
The squirrel-corn and dutchman's breeches are two of the daintiest native springtime flowers; and the bleeding-heart is one of the choicest memories of old-fashioned gardens: it is also the most widely cultivated of all the plants of this delightful order. Though long known to herbaria, plants of bleeding-heart were not introduced to western cultivation from Japan until the late forties of last century. Robert Fortune saw it on the Island of Chusan, where he also got Diervilla rosea and the "Chusan daisy," the parent of pompon chrysanthemums. The first five plants seen in England flowered in May, 1847. It rapidly spread into every garden in the land, and is now rich in home associations. It is an altogether lovely plant. The species of Dicentra may be classed as caulescent and acaules-cent. The stemless kinds send up their short scapes directly from the ground, as D. Cucullaria, D. canadensis, D. formosa, D. eximia. The species with leaf-bearing stems are such as D. chrysantha and D. spectabilis.
In the species here described the flowers are nodding except in D. chrysantha.
Dicentras are easily cultivated in borders and wild gardens. Two or three kinds can be readily secured from the woods in the East. Effort should be made to reproduce the natural conditions, especially the degree of shade. They like a rich light soil. Propagation is by dividing crowns or roots. The forcing of bleeding-hearts, though pactically unknown in America, is said to be commoner in England than outdoor culture. The forcing must be very gentle and the plants kept as near the glass as possible. It is best to have fresh plants each year, and return the forced ones to the border. None of the species is much cultivated with the exception of the bleeding-heart (D. spectabilis), a. Flowers rose-purple.
b. Racemes simple.
Lem. (Dielytra spectabilis, Don). Bleeding-Heart. Fig. 1256. Height 1-2 ft.: leaves and leaflets broadest of the group, the ultimate segments obovate or cuneate: flowers large, deep rosy red; corolla heart - shaped; inner petals white, protruding. Japan. F.S. 3: 258. Gn. 40:198; 60, p. 375; 70, p. 192. Gn.W.23:suppl. July 14. G. 2:375; 26:142; 27:112. G.M.49:718; 51:160. G.W. 5, p. 388. H.F.2:96. B.M. 4458. R.H. 1847: 461. variety ilba, Hort., the white-flowered form, has a weaker growth. The bleeding-heart is one of the best of flowering perennials. The bloom in spring and also the foliage are attractive. If given room and moisture, the plant will continue to be attractive as a foliage mass till late summer.
Fig. 1256. Dicentra spectabilis. - Bleeding-heart. (X 1/4) bb. Racemes compound.
Torr. Stemless, glabrous and somewhat glaucous, 1-2 ft., from a scaly rootstocks ultimate leaf - segments broadly oblong or ovate, the leaves being ter-nately parted: scape about equaling the leaves; flowers rose or pink, heart-shaped, tapering to a neck, inner petals protruded. Rocks of W. N. Y. and mountains to Ga. variety multi-pinnata, Hort., has leaves more finely cut, making a very handsome foliage plant.
formdsa,Walp. Fig. 1257. Stemless, with a fleshy and spreading rootstock: leaves very long - stalked, biter-nately compound, the segments cleft or pinnatifid.: scapes about 2 ft., somewhat exceeding the leaves, naked; flowers in a terminal cluster of short and bracted racemes, rose-purple, the corolla ovate-cordate, the petals all united to above the middle, the inner petals scarcely protruding. Cent. Calif, to Brit. Col. A.F. 21:459. Mn. 8:17. B.M. 1335 (as Fumaria formosa).
aa. Flowers chiefly white.
Walp. (Dielytra canadensis, Don). Squirrel-Corn, from the scattered little tubers resembling grains of maize. Fig. 1258. Stemless, fragile: leaves finely cut, glaucous, the segments linear and abruptly pointed: raceme simple, few-flowered; flowers white, tipped with rose; corolla merely heart-shaped, the spurs being short and rounded; crest of the inner petals conspicuous, projecting. Nova Scotia to Mich., to N. C. and Mo. and Neb., but chiefly northward in the vegetable mold of rich woods. B.M. 3031.
Dutchman's-Breeches. Fig. 1259. Easily told from D. canadensis by its loose, granular cluster of tubers, forming a bulb-like body: leaves finely cut, little or not at all glaucous: racemes simple, few-flowered; flowers white, tipped creamy yellow; corolla not heart-shaped, the spurs longer and divergent; crest of the inner petals minute. Nova Scotia to Ga. and Mo., and also along the Columbia River (the western form differing in having shorter and rounded spurs). I.H. 6:215. Mn. 6:41. A.G. 13:516. B.M. 1127 (as Fumaria Cucullaria).
aaa. Flowers yellow.
Walp. Golden Eardrops. Pale and glaucous, with leafy stems 2-3 ft. high: leaves bipin-nate, 1 ft. or more long, segments narrow: infloresence thyr-soid paniculate; flowers numerous, as many as 50 in a thryse, erect, golden yellow; corolla linear-oblong; outer petals hardly larger than the inner, the tips soon recurving to below the middle, all distinct. Dry hills of the inner Coast range. Calif. B.M. 7954. F.S. 8:820 (as Capnorchis chrysantha). - Rare in cultivation
Fig. 1257. Dicentra formosa. (X 1/3)
D. torulosa, Hook. f. & Thorns., of the Himalayan region, has been introduced abroad. It is an annual climber, 10-10 ft.: leaves attractively cut: flowers 6-8 together, yellow: fruit red. L H B †