Photo of Dicentra cucullaria

Dicentra cucularilla

Dutchman's Breeches

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This spring ephemeral blooms in March and April providing early nectar for waking bees.

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This spring ephemeral blooms in March and April providing early nectar for waking bees. Uniquely shaped white flowers form a balloon-like structure likened to a pair of upside down pantaloons, giving cause for it’s common name, “Dutchman’s Breeches”. Several flowers are borne on stalks that rise 6 inches above the finely cut feathery leaves. This woodland perennial prefers full shade and moist, but well-drained organic-rich soil. Deer tend to avoid this plant as it can be toxic when eaten. The entire plant goes dormant by early summer. Add Dutchman’s Breeches to your shade garden or shady naturalized area, mixed with later germinating perennials to fill-in when it goes dormant.

Wildlife Value: As an early blooming perennial, Dutchman’s Breeches flowers are an important nectar source for native long-tongued bees, as they wake from their winter slumber looking for food.

Plant Details:

Plant Type: Flower, Perennial, Groundcover

New Jersey Native: Yes

Bloom Times: Spring

Bloom Colors: White

Deer Resistance: High

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Bees and Other Pollinators

Salt Tolerance: Unknown

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: Ridge & Valley - RV, Piedmont - P, Highland - H

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic

Soil Moisture: Dry

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Slightly Alkaline

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Shade

Light Range: Partial Shade, Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Dry

Drought Tolerance: Low

Size and Growth Rate

Height: .05 - 1 ft

Spread: .05 - 1 ft

Growth Rate: Slow