[The Genus Dicentra in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches

Dicentra cucullaria

Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis

Close-up of a flower of Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)
The photo above shows a close-up of a flower of dutchman's breeches as seen in forest near the summit of Grassy Knoll, southern Gifford Pinchot N. F....................May 24, 2007.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)The photo at right shows dutchman's breeches as seen from Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge, east of Bingen, WA.
Characteristics:

Dicentra cucullaria is an attractive perennial wildflower relative of bleeding hearts. It arises from an erect root covered with numerous, bulbous tubers. Numerous long-petioled leaves arise at ground level. Individual leaves are compound pinnate, often three to four times compoundly divided into linear segments roughly 1.5 to 3 mm in length.

The flower-bearing stems arise separately from the leaves (as seen in the photos), and are topped by loose racemes of from 3 to 8 flowers. Flowers are four-petaled. The corollas are creamy white or pinkish, the inner petals being yellow-tipped (See photo at right.) The petals are about 1 cm in length and the outer petals each have a curved, divergent spur about 7-11 mm in length. The seed capsules are fusiform.

This is an attractive wildflower for native gardens, especially when it can be planted away from taller plants that may overpower it. The flowers and lacy foliage are both attractive. It arises in early spring and disappears by May. Slugs like it and its more common cousin, the Bleeding hearts. Dutchman's breeches would probably be more suited for gardens east of the Cascades, however I've had several plants surviving in thick pine litter for at least five years. They are definitely pretty mixed in with bleeding hearts, shooting stars and fawn lilies.


Habitat:

Dutchman's breeches is found in moist soils and gravelly banks. In the Columbia River Gorge, it is often found within woodlands of Oregon white oak.


Range:

Dutchman's breeches is found in the west primarily along the Columbia and Snake Rivers from about Crown Point in the western Columbia River Gorge and extending eastward to southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon and western Idaho (in the vicinity of the Snake River).

Variety cucullaria is found extensively throughout central and eastern North America (from the eastern edge of the Great Plains).


Inflorescence of Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

The photo above shows a close-up of a flower of dutchman's breeches as seen in forest near the summit of Grassy Knoll, southern Gifford Pinchot N. F........May 24, 2007.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis) - Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

Dutchman's breeches blooming along the old Gorge Highway (Highway 30) just west of the mouth of Perham Creek, Wygant State Natural Area.........March 29, 2015.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis) - Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

Dutchman's breeches as seen at left at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.......April 9, 2009. The photo at right shows dutchman's breeches in bloom under douglas firs along the Memaloose Trail, Columbia River Gorge.......April 14, 2018.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis) - Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

Dutchman's breeches blooming along the Dog Mountain Trail where it is very easy to observe in early May most years.........May 4, 2011.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis) - Flower of Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

Dutchman's breeches as seen along the Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge.........April 11, 2013.

Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis) -

Dutchman's breeches blooming at Catherine Creek.........March 23, 2017.

Flower of Dutchman's Breeches, Western Dutchmann's Breeches: Dicentra cucullaria (Synonyms: Bicuculla cucullaria, Dicentra cucullaria var. occidentalis, Dicentra occidentalis)

The photo above is a close-up of the flower of dutchman's breeches as seen at Catherine Creek.........early April, 2005.

Paul Slichter