While there, several wildflowers in Mom's woods called to me. Among them was Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria,) an old-fashioned bleeding hearts relative. Dutchman's breeches is a native plant I've long admired in the woods and occasionally in cultivated shade gardens. There is a large colony of them blooming at the foot of Mom's driveway. Since they were in such plentiful supply, I dug a few to add to our shade garden.
According to Wikipedia, this delicate, pretty spring ephemeral was a medicinal plant used by Native Americans and early settlers for syphilis, skin conditions and as a blood purifier. Now, it's considered toxic, containing alkaloids that may have detrimental effects on the brain and heart. The seeds of Dutchman's breeches are spread by ants, in a process called myrmecochory.
Mobot says Dutchman's breeches typically occurs on forest floors, rocky woods, slopes, ledges, valleys, ravines and along streams, that it prefers rich, moist, humusy soils in part shade, and is intolerant of wet soils in winter. While our shade garden soil is rich, humusy, and well-draining, it's also dry in summer thanks to its tangle of maple roots. These plants tend to go dormant earlier in dry soil than in moist. Since I've seen this plant naturalize in other dry shade gardens, I'm hopeful it will be happy here.
Gratuitous shot of Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis,) another wildflower in our garden. These were either trampled by critters or blown down by wind. Wilting, I cut these blooms to come indoors where they quickly recovered and are now gracing our kitchen window.
To see more spring wildflowers, please visit Gail at Clay and Limestone, host of Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of each month.