MBG Home Horticulture MBG Search
Home Page
Kemper Blog
Plants of Merit
Master Search
PlantFinder Search
Search PlantFinder Names

Dicentra cucullaria

(1 rating) --- Rate this plant / Read comments

Kemper Code:  K130

Common Name: Dutchman's breeches
Zone: 3 to 7
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Nova Scotia, North Carolina west to Kansas
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 0.5 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: March   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White to pink
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium

Locate this plant at MBG

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

View our source(s)

  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, humusy soils in part shade. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. This is a spring ephemeral which usually disappears from the garden by early summer (dry soils tend to hasten this process).

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Dutchman's breeches is an easily recognized, graceful, early spring, Missouri native wildflower which typically occurs on forest floors, rocky woods, slopes, ledges, valleys, ravines and along streams throughout most of the State. Features deeply-cut, fern-like, grayish-green foliage and racemes of waxy, white (infrequently tinged with pink), yellow-tipped flowers shaped like pantaloons with the ankles upward (hence the common name). Flowers are borne in a row drooping from leafless stems arching above the foliage in early spring. Plants typically grow to 12" tall, with the flower stems and basal leaves rising directly from a scaly rootstock. Dutchman's breeches is in the same genus as bleeding heart.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphid infestations. Good soil drainage is essential for plant survival.


Best naturalized in woodland, wildflower or native plant gardens. Generally considered inappropriate for borders because the plants go dormant by summer.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

More photos: