Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.) are a native wildflower to the Eastern US which produces blooms March - May in rich and rocky deciduous woods and ravines. A long stem emerges from the fern-like foliage to bloom pantaloon-resembling flowers (hence the name). These can be differentiated from the similar looking 'squirrel corn' by the sharp spurs and yellow bases of the 'breeches' where as the 'squirrel corn' has more of a round heart shape and does not have the yellow base. Both the squirrel corn and the dutchman's breeches are of the 'bleeding heart' family and as with the bleeding hearts are highly toxic and can cause irritation even to the touch (unless you're a bumblebee). This plant is an important source of pollen and nutrients to early awakening bees.
Upon the arrival of summer, the dutchman's breeches will go dormant until early spring comes around again.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.