Lamprocapnos spectabilis Lamprocapnos spectabilis Lamprocapnos spectabilis

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Western Bleeding-heart

Dicentra formosa

  • Name also: Pacific Bleeding-heart, Wild Bleeding Heart
  • Family: Poppy Family – Papaveraceae
    (formerly Fumitory Family – Fumariaceae)
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rhizome creeping, short-branched.
  • Height: 20–40 cm (8–16 in.). Stem ascending–erect, quite many-branched.
  • Flower: Corolla zygomorphic, pink, dark red tip, 15–20 mm (0.6–0.8 in.) long, narrowly cordate. Petals 4, of which 2 outermost identical, oval-based. Sepals 2. Stamens 6 in 2 groups, each with 1 whole and 2 half stamens. A single carpel. Inflorescence a 5–20-flowered nodding, branching corymb.
  • Leaves: Alternate with basal rosette, long-stalked. Blade triangular, with 3 leaflets, leaflets pinnate, secondary leaflets lobed–toothed.
  • Fruit: Elongated capsule.
  • Habitat: Graveyards, gardens, wasteland. Ornamental, sometimes an escape.
  • Flowering time: July.

Western bleeding-heart grows ferally in the west of North America in shady pine, giant redwood and sequoia forests, often on mountainsides and in valleys. There are two known subspecies, of which one, including all its refined varieties, is popular in Finnish gardens. Bleeding-heart’s graceful leaves make it a good ground-cover plant for semi-shady areas – its beautiful fern-like leaves would be reason enough in themselves to have the plant in the garden. The main reason for its popularity however is its long flowering time, which lasts from the middle of summer until the autumn. The heart-shaped flowers look very exotic and make the plant easily recognizable. Pollinators notice them too, especially bees, and the plant is able to produce seeds in Finland too. Occasionally they end up growing outside the garden, surprising friends of wild flowers. The fragile rootstock can also be divided during garden work and end up getting dumped with the other rubbish and growing on compost heaps or forest margins.

Bleeding Heart (Asian Bleeding Heart)

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Like western bleeding heart, Asian bleeding heart is quite popular ornamental in Finnish gardens, due to species’ heart-shaped, quite exceptional looking corollas. From gardens these both species may sometimes escape, but not very far. In southern Finland bleeding heart may start flowering already in May and go on through June, in northern Finland a bit later.

Other species from the same family

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