Wednesday, September 10, 2008

100 Species Challenge -- Species #15

Specimen #15 Dutchman's Breeches

Dicentra cucullaria

Dicentra is the genus of a popular garden perennial, Bleeding Heart. It also is the genus of Squirrel Corn, which looks very similar to Dutchman's Breeches.

I have found this plant in Margo Frankel Woods and Browns Woods, both in Polk County. I've already listed geocaches in those parks, but you can go look yourself -- Margo Frankel is ZIP Code 50313 and Browns is 50265.

You'll find this plant in early spring. Warm days (upper 40's), cold nights (frost and icy streams). It is a native bulb and I read that it is toxic. Unsure which parts are toxic. I've also read here that Iroquois would use it to make a liniment for strengthening legs, throw it like Cupid's arrow, and chew its root to give the breath an aphrodisiac affect!

Dutchman's Breeches are so lovely to view and bring such nice memories of my childhood, that I doubt I would ever upset it from its location.

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