SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dicentra
COMMON NAME(S): Bleeding heart
FAMILY: FUMARIACEAE - Bleeding Heart family (often placed in PAPAVERACEAE)
ORIGIN: North America and Asia, 19 spp.
HABITAT: Woodlands, chiefly mountainous, damp soils, cultivated landscapes
HEIGHT: Variable, but less than 6'
CHARACTERISTICS: Underground storage stem; some species with aerial stems, others without
LEAVES: Alternate on aerial stem or clustered at the base if stem obsolete, feather-like and very finely dissected
FLOWERS: Showy, heart-shaped in outline, pendulous, solitary or borne in various types of clusters from the leaf axils, red, pink, white, purple, yellow
FLOWERING SEASON: Spring, summer
FRUITS: Fleshy or membranous capsules
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Unknown
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: Contact dermatitis has been attributed to handling these pretty wildflowers and garden perennials. Most native species are found in the western United States. Native species of the Southeast are D. canadensis (Goldie) Walpers (Squirrel corn), D. eximia (Ker-Gawler) Torrey (Bleeding heart) and D. cucullaria (L.) Bernh. (Dutchman's breeches). The Asian bleeding heart, D. spectabilis (L.) Lem, is widely cultivated.