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."
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.
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."