Dicentra cucullaria

Overall Plant in Bloom
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Dutchman's breeches 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: White to pink
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Clay Soil


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers rich, moist, humusy soils in part shade. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. This is a spring ephemeral which usually disappears from the garden by early summer (dry soils tend to hasten this process).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dicentra cucullaria, commonly called Dutchman's breeches, is an easily recognized, graceful, early spring, Missouri native wildflower which typically occurs on forest floors, rocky woods, slopes, ledges, valleys, ravines and along streams throughout most of the State. Features deeply-cut, fern-like, grayish-green foliage and racemes of waxy, white (infrequently tinged with pink), yellow-tipped flowers shaped like pantaloons with the ankles upward (hence the common name). Flowers are borne in a row drooping from leafless stems arching above the foliage in early spring. Plants typically grow to 12" tall, with the flower stems and basal leaves rising directly from a scaly rootstock.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dis meaning twice and kentron meaning a spur for the two-spurred flowers.

Specific epithet means hood-like.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphid infestations. Good soil drainage is essential for plant survival.


Best naturalized in woodland, wildflower or native plant gardens. Generally considered inappropriate for borders because the plants go dormant by summer.