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Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Dicentra formosa (Haw.) Walp.
Pacific bleeding heart, Pacific bleedinghearts, Western bleedingheart
USDA Symbol: difo
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Drooping clusters of pink, heart-shaped flowers, flushed with lavender, are attached to the leafless stems of this perennial. Pink, heart-shaped flowers hang in small, branched clusters above soft, fern-like, bluish-green leaves at base. The airy, fern-like foliage occurs on separate stalks. Pacific bleedinghearts grows from 6-18 in. in height.
One of the nursery-trade species. Bleeding Heart (D. spectabilis), from Japan, has larger, rosy-red or white flowers, about 1 (2.5 cm) long.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
, WA Canada: BC Native Distribution:
to w. B.C. Native Habitat:
Cool, damp woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist CaCO3 Tolerance:
None Soil Description:
Moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Conditions Comments:
Western bleeding heart must be kept mulched with decaying humus, especially in cold winters. Extensive rhizome
systems spread to establish colonies.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Hummingbirds
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts. Toxic only in large quantities. Causes minor skin irritation when touched, lasting only for a few minutes. Symptoms includes trembling, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, labored breathing. Skin irritation after repeated contact with the cell sap. Toxic Principle: Several isoquinolone alkaloids. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.);
Seeds are spread by ants.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Divisions from rhizomes should be planted vertically in wet peat pots with the eye at soil level. Small, blooming plants will be ready the following year. This plant can also be propagated by seed, however it takes several years for seedlings to grow to
Seed Collection: Collect seeds in the summer.
Seed Treatment: Seeds need moist, cold stratification if they have not been given a natural overwinter treatment outdoors.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff