Dicentra Species, Dutchman's Breeches

Dicentra cucullaria

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dicentra (dy-SEN-truh) (Info)
Species: cucullaria (kuk-yoo-LAIR-ee-uh) (Info)
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light 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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Columbus, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Berwyn, Pennsylvania

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Dover, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Powell, Tennessee

Viola, Tennessee

Leesburg, Virginia

Kirkland, Washington

Edgerton, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.
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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.