Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.

Dutchman's-breeches

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Dutchman's-breeches occurs in the same mesic woodland habitats as squirrel-corn (Dicentra canadensis) and looks similar, but Dutchman's breeches flowers a little earlier.

Habitat

Floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
white
Leaf type
the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaf arrangement
the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Stamen number
6
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
7–16 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower length
    10–25 mm
    Flower number
    3–14
    Flower orientation
    the flower bends downwards or hangs downwards
    Flower petal color
    white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    there are two clusters of fused stamens
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are all or nearly all arrayed on one side of the inflorescence axis or branches of the inflorescence
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Length of flower stalk
    2–12 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has one or more nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    2
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    • the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    • the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows abruptly at the base
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud meet exactly at the margins without overlapping (valvate)
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal length
    7.5–20 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal nectaries
    the petals have at least one nectary
    Petal number
    4
    Petal shape
    • the petal outline is another shape
    • the petal outline is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    3–13 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal cilia
    the sepals do not have cilia
    Sepal color
    white
    Sepal length
    1.8–5 mm
    Sepal number
    2
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    the sepal outline is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    1–4.5 mm
    Spur number
    2
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are attached to one another at or near their bases
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Style length
    2–4 mm
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    7–16 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    NA
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    3–5 mm
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed length
    2 mm
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    2–23 mm
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0.4–4.2 mm
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade length
    100–360 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade width
    40–180 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    NA
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk length
    50–240 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    NA
    Leaves per node
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis, and each lobe itself has rows of lobes on each side of the lobe's central axis
    • the leaf has lobes that themselves have lobes, and these secondary lobes also have lobes; there may be more than three levels of lobes
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    • NA
    • the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    Length of hairs between stem nodes
    0 mm
    Plant height
    10–30 cm
    Stem hair distribution
    NA
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    • NA
    • the stem does not feel rough
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Dicentra canadensis:
spurs of petals parallel with each other and rounded at the apex and bulblets of rhizome yellow (vs. D. cucullaria, with spurs of petals divergent and somewhat pointed at the apex and bulblets of rhizome white to pink).

Synonyms

  • Bicuculla cucullaria (L.) Millsp.
  • Capnorchis cucullaria (L.) Planch.
  • Dicentra occidentalis Rydb.
  • Fumaria cucullaria L.

Family

Papaveraceae

Genus

Dicentra

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