Dutchman’s breeches

Dicentra cucullaria

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Dutchman’s breeches grow in shady woodland areas and require moist soils to bloom.

  • Range

    This plant is common across the eastern United States.

  • Status

    Stable

Dutchman’s breeches are native perennials with white flowers that look like tiny pantaloons. They can be found in woodlands throughout the watershed.

Appearance

The leaves of the plant are dense and fern-like. The stalks are bare, leading to clusters of white flowers. The flowers are double-spurred and resemble small pantaloons. The plant usually grows to be one foot tall.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Dutchman’s breeches are pollinated by bumblebees, which have a long enough proboscis, or straw-like tongue, to reach the nectar of the flower. The flowers bloom in early spring, from March to April, and the plant goes dormant during the early summer.

Did You Know?

  • Dutchman’s breeches is related to the poppy, and it contains narcotic and toxic substances.
  • Cows that graze on the flowers will start to stumble as if drunk, giving the plant the nickname “Little Blue Staggers.”
  • The flowers will wilt immediately if they are picked.

Sources and Additional Information

Quick Facts

  • Species

    Native

  • Habitat

    Dutchman’s breeches grow in shady woodland areas and require moist soils to bloom.

  • Range

    This plant is common across the eastern United States.

  • Status

    Stable