Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Beautiful, handsome, well-formed."

More Plants.

I am enjoying the blog-posts of emerging wild plants as spring spreads across North America, such as those by Marvin at Three Steps Forward (And Two In Reverse). Yesterday he provided a picture of Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria. It inspired me to check on the progress of the domestic Dicentra spectabilis in our garden, which we inherited with this house. It practically explodes from the ground, was a nice surprise our first spring here. It is an elegant plant with strings of heart-shaped flowers on 2-3 foot, arching stems. It dies back in the heat of summer, but by that time other perennials are shouldering the "beauty-load."

Dicentra spectabilis, just getting started.

There is a native bleeding heart that occurs along the Pacific coast, Dicentra formosa, found on the banks of ravines and other moist, well-drained places. It's a very soft, delicate plant, a springtime favourite.

Dicentra formosa, Sumas Mountain, April 2007.

From Pojar & MacKinnon: "Dicentra means 'two-spurred,' in reference to the spurs on the outer two petals; formosa means 'beautiful, handsome, well-formed,' which it is indeed."


BerryBird said...

The Dicentra I see most often is D. canadensis, an eastern plant you may remember from your childhood woodlot. It has the charming common name of squirrel corn, which when uttered by a mumbler like myself, can be misconstrued as squirrel porn. It tough to live that one down... my husband still calls it squirrel porn.

Hugh said...

I googled it, and wonder if I tended to misidentify it as Dutchman's Breeches as a youngster.

A happy Google discovery -- a new website to add to the list, that of The Connecticut Botanical Society,


Squirrel porn. I wonder how many hits that will draw?

Anonymous said...

Dicentra formosa grows in the ravines on the north side of Pacific Spirit Park in Vancouver. The flowers are emerging now (early April), but few are open. When bumblebees visit the flowers, they hang upside down from the tip of the flower and stick their "tongue" in one of the spurs to get the nectar, then they turn around and take the nectar from the other spur. One day while walking along the West Canyon Trail I came across a whole lot of young people lying all over my favorite patch of bleeding heart. They had chosen this spot to practice their first aid.