Dicentra

Dicentra is a genus that some say belongs in the Fumariaceae family. Others chose to include that family as a subfamily, Fumarioideae, in the Papaveraceae family. Some species have tuberous rootstocks and some have overwintering rhizomes. Others are probably best described as herbaceous perennials. This genus is distributed in North America, Japan and eastern Asia.


Dicentra canadensis is native to the eastern US and Canada. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, April 2006.

Dicentra canadensis, Nhu NguyenDicentra canadensis, Nhu Nguyen

Dicentra cucullaria is another species from Canada and the United States growing from a cluster of small tubers. Flowers are white marked with yellow. Photo by John Lonsdale.

Dicentra cucullaria, John LonsdaleDicentra cucullaria, John LonsdaleDicentra cucullaria, John Lonsdale

Dicentra eximia This eastern United States species, Fringed Bleeding Heart, grows from a rhizome. It is found on forest floors, rocky woods and ledges in the Appalachian Mountains and is best grown in moist shade. It has fern-like, grayish-green foliage which persists throughout the growing season and pink to purplish red, nodding, heart-shaped flowers. Photos by John Lonsdale of a plant with pink flowers and an unusual white form.

Dicentra eximia, John LonsdaleDicentra eximia alba, John Lonsdale

Dicentra formosa is a plant that spreads by rhizomes and has ferny green leaves and rosy pink, occasionally white, heart shaped flowers that arch above the leaves. It is native to the Western North America. It can become invasive in a well watered summer garden. Photo by Richard Haard.

Dicentra formosa, Richard Haard

Dicentra formosa ssp. oregana is native to Oregon and California. Photo by John Lonsdale

Dicentra formosa ssp oregana, John Lonsdale

Dicentra peregrina is an alpine species from Japan and Siberia with large pink or white flowers. This species grows from a rhizome. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Dicentra peregrina, John LonsdaleDicentra peregrina, John Lonsdale

Dicentra 'Queen of Hearts' was a selection once offered by White Flower Farms in the early 1980s. Photo from John Lonsdale.

Dicentra 'Queen of Hearts', John Lonsdale

Dicentra scandens is native to the Himalayas. This is an interesting species that climbs along other vegetations in shade to semi-sun area. It does well in cooler, milder climates and tend to not be very frost tolerant. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen from the Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco. Photograph of seed and seed pod by David Pilling. Confusion between D. scandens, D. macrocapnos and D. thalictrifolia is common. All the climbing species have recently been put in the new genus Dactylicapnos.

Dicentra scandens, Nhu NguyenDicentra scandens, Nhu NguyenDicentra scandens seed, David Pilling

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Page last modified on February 12, 2013, at 06:45 PM