Formerly Corydalis lutea. A relative of Bleeding-Hearts and Dutchman’s Breeches, native to Europe, but gaining a foothold in North America. It is not very common in Pittsburgh, perhaps completely unknown except for this patch, which was growing in the rocks beside a small stream in Frick Park, where it was blooming in late June. We suspect that this plant was deliberately introduced to Frick Park, but it is thriving there.
These charming relatives of the Bleeding-Heart like a damp wooded hillside, more often a gentle slope than a steep incline. The flowers really do look like old-fashioned pairs of breeches hung upside-down to dry. “Pretty, but odd” is Gray’s description. These plants were growing in Bird Park in Mount Lebanon, where they were blooming in late March (in a year when spring came very early).
Gray describes the genus and the species:
DICÉNTRA Berah.Petals slightly cohering into a heart-shaped or 2-spurred corolla, either deciduous or withering-persistent. Stigma 2-crested and sometimes 2-horned. Filaments slightly united into two sets. Pod 10-20-seeded. Seeds crested. — Low stemless perennials (as to our wild species) with ternately compound and dissected leaves, and racemose nodding flowers. Pedicels 2-bracted. (Name from dis, twice, and kentron, a spur; —accidentally printed Diclytra in the first instance, which by an erroneous conjecture was changed afterwards into Dielytra.) Bikukulla Adans. Bicuculla Millsp.
* Raceme simple, few-flowered.
D. Cucullària (L.) Bernh. (Dutchman’s Breeches.) Scape and slender-petioled leaves from a sort of granulate bulb; lobes of leaves linear; corolla with 2 divergent spurs longer than the pedicel; crest of the inner petals minute. (Bicuculla Millsp.) — Rich woods, N. S. to L. Huron and Minn., s. to N. C. and Mo. — A very delicate plant, sending up in early spring, from the cluster of grain-like tubers crowded together in the form of a scaly bulb, the finely cut leaves and the slender scape, bearing 4-10 pretty, but odd, white flowers tipped with cream-color.