Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dutchman's Breeches
Dicentra cucullaria

Family: Fumariaceae (foo-mar-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dicentra (dy-SEN-truh) (Info)
Species: cucullaria (kuk-yoo-LAIR-ee-uh) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


under 6 in. (15 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #1 of Dicentra cucullaria by Toxicodendron

By roshana
Thumbnail #2 of Dicentra cucullaria by roshana

By mygardens
Thumbnail #3 of Dicentra cucullaria by mygardens

By roshana
Thumbnail #4 of Dicentra cucullaria by roshana

By naturepatch
Thumbnail #5 of Dicentra cucullaria by naturepatch

By KevinMc
Thumbnail #6 of Dicentra cucullaria by KevinMc

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #7 of Dicentra cucullaria by Toxicodendron

There are a total of 16 photos.
Click here to view them all!


8 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Nov 28, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An elegant, charming, and easy native spring ephemeral for woodland conditions. I find it self-sows for me. It's hard to have too much.

Grows from a cluster of pink teardrop-shaped tubers that generally stick up above the soil surface. These can be separated while dormant to propagate, but will take several years to build up enough strength to bloom.

There are strains and varieties with pink-tinted flowers.

All flowers of this species have both male and female parts.

Positive Erutuon On May 9, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I ordered this from Prairie Moon Nursery a few years back. After I planted it, the squirrels dug it up and broke up the cluster of little bulbs or tubers that make up the root system. So for the next few years, I had single finely leaves sprouting up. Last year (2010) one plant was finally large enough to send up two leaves and a flowering stalk. This year (2011) four plants bloomed. I'm thinking after they go dormant, I'll try breaking apart one plant's root system and sowing the bulblets in a new spot to begin the process again.

Positive fourzoner On May 29, 2009, fourzoner from Lewiston, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:

Grows WILD, prolific as dandelions, or wild violet, on the edges and openings of our hardwoods (mostly maple). Appears early, and in the garden, it mixes well with bulbs. Great early groundcover, especially under shrubs, and anywhere otherwise would just be bare ground before garden plants start to sprout or shrubs leaf out. No care provided. Dies back (like bulbs): faster in sun, slower in shade; but by then the trillium are in bloom. Often what remains to be seen are clusters of little red "feet" about the size of tapioca pearls at the soils' surface. Easy to transplant from our vegetable garden area to perennial beds. Tilling the garden just seems to spread them the following year. A great spring perennial, and it didn't cost me a dime.

Positive Buttoneer On Apr 7, 2009, Buttoneer from Carlisle, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This little charmer is up now (4/7/09) and cannot wait to bloom. What is confusing about it is that it comes up in one place in one year & the next year, does not come up in the same place, but another place. As long as it comes up, that's all I ask.

Positive quasymoto On Mar 23, 2009, quasymoto from Bloomfield, IA (Zone 5b) wrote:

I discovered this growing on the property whilst out looking for native species to Iowa and this property to add to my shade garden on the same property. It is beautiful, dependable delicate looking and as stated before does not last near as long as I'd like.

Positive yahmebkb On Jul 23, 2008, yahmebkb from Battle Creek, MI wrote:

This plant grows wild in Michigan but is against the to pick. An interesting fact about Dutceman's Breeches is that there are male and female plants. Great spring flower just don't last long enough.

Positive Malus2006 On Nov 20, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

A nice groundcover for the spaces between hostas, ferns and other late emerging plants that seem to reseed itself at low to moderate rate.

Positive Equilibrium On Dec 9, 2004, Equilibrium wrote:

Great little North American native plant with very interesting and delicate white blooms. Very elegant spring ephemeral.

Interesting fact is that most insects don't have mouthparts long enough to reach the nectar without chewing through the flower to get to it.

The leaves and tubers of this plant are toxic as they contain isoquinoline alkaloids. Don't eat those parts and you'll be fine. It really is poisonous if ingested. It allegedly can cause dermatitis if touched however I have not experienced this.

In addition to dividision, this plant can be propagated by seed. The seed should be gathered in April or May. It will require multiple cycles of warm and cold stratification so don't give up on it if it doesn't germinate right away.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Flowers are perfect, 2-nerved, bilaterally symmetrical; sepals: 2, falling early from the flower; petals: 4, 2 outer and 2 inner; outer 2 petals fused at base, free at the ends, one or both forming basal sacs; inner 2 petals slender at base, fused over the stigma at apex; stamens: 6; leaves: glabrous, herbaceous decompound or dissected; stems: watery, juice apparent when crushed.

PHENOLOGY: Dutchman's breeches and squirrel-corn flower in spring, usually April to May Bleeding heart flowers in early summer, June to July.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anna, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Deerfield, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Palmyra, Illinois
Logansport, Indiana
Warren, Indiana
Bloomfield, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Louisville, Kentucky
Valley Lee, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lewiston, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
University Center, Michigan
Williamsburg, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Marietta, Mississippi
Piedmont, Missouri
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Himrod, New York
Salt Point, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Batavia, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Dover, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Powell, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Leesburg, Virginia
Kirkland, Washington
Edgerton, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America