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Dicentra canadensis (Squirrel corn)
Smith, R.W.

Dicentra canadensis

Dicentra canadensis (Goldie) Walp.

Squirrel Corn

Fumariaceae (Fumitory Family)

Synonym(s): Bicuculla canadensis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The foliage of this 6-10 in. perennial is smooth, blue-gray and fern-like. The flowers are dainty broad hearts; pinkish-white, sometimes tinged with pale lavender; and fragrant.

Plants become dormant after they bloom. Mice and chipmunks are adept at transplanting the tubers.


From the Image Gallery

13 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 10 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: CT , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NS
Native Distribution: Que. & N.S. to MN, s. to GA, TN & MO
Native Habitat: Open, deciduous woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Humus-rich soil. Tolerates limestone.


Use Ornamental: Contributes ephemeral spring color and fragrance to the mountainous Eastern shade garden.
Use Wildlife: Attracts chipmunk and mice.
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.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes


Description: Seeds should be sown as soon as ripe. Division of the root system involves transplanting the tiny tubers, which look like yellow peas, when the plant is dormant.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Dicentra canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dicentra canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dicentra canadensis


Record Modified: 2023-02-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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