Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's Breeches)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; rich woods|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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3 to 14 white, occasionally pink, stalked flowers hanging down in a raceme at the end of a naked stem that rises above the leaves. The raceme may be erect but often leans or arches over. Individual flowers are about ¾ inch long with 2 opposing spurs that give the flower a triangular to arrowhead shape in outline. There are 2 pale yellow lobes at the base of the flower that open up like wings, revealing the stamens and style.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are basal, usually 2 per flowering stem, compound, thrice divided into lacy, narrowly oblong to linear segments. Leaflets are up to 1¼ inch long and 1 inch wide; leaf color is gray-green to bluish-green. Stems are smooth and usually brown.
A widespread species in Minnesota, Dutchman's Breeches is one of the heralds of spring. Similar species is Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis), which is limited to the southeast corner of the state and has virtually identical leaves but more heart-shaped flowers with rounded spurs.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken near Reshanau Lake, Anoka County, and in Goodhue County.
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