Friday, May 01, 2009

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

The dark green, feathery foliage is a delicate counterpoint to the small white flower. This pretty little plant has a fascinating story.

Dutchman’s Breeches were named because the flower looks like an upside down pair of baggy pants.

The seeds are spread by ants. From what I understand the seeds are taken back to the ant’s nest. The outside of the seed is eaten or fed to the ant’s larvae. The seed is then discarded to grow another plant.

This plant is said to have medicinal properties. Native Americans were purported to use it to treat skin and blood conditions as well as syphilis.

Lore says that it was used as a love charm. A man chewed the roots and breathed on his intended paramour. The fragrance of his breath caused her to follow his lead, even against her will.

I love a good plant story.


Kathy said...

I agree a plant story is so fun to tell when showing folks the lovely specimens!

Chandramouli S said...

I always am a fan of Plant stories and I loved this one too. Especially that it has a medicinal. That's cool.