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Dicentra (bleeding Heart)

February 14, 2012 by staff 

Dicentra (bleeding Heart), Dicentra (bleeding-heart; “twice”, kéntron “spur”) is a genus of 8 species of perennial herbaceous plants in the fumitory family, many with heart-shaped flowers, native to eastern Asia and North America.
Flowers have two tiny sepals and four petals. The petals are bisymmetric: the two outer ones are spurred or pouched at the base and curved outwards or backwards at the tip, and the two inner ones are straight and connected at the tip.

In Dicentra, all leaves are in a basal rosette and flowers are on leafless stalks. In other genera with bisymmetric heart-shaped flowers (Lamprocapnos, Dactylicapnos, Ichtyoselmis, Ehrendorferia), leaves grow on flower stalks as well as from the base.

Each of the two compound stamens is composed of four stamens fused together. The stamens and pistil are held between the inner petals.

Seeds with elaiosomes are borne in long pods.

All parts are poisonous if ingested.

There are several hybrids and cultivars involving Dicentra eximia, Dicentra formosa, and Dicentra peregrina, including:

Dicentra ‘Aurora’ – Dicentra formosa × Dicentra eximia – white flowers
Dicentra ‘Bacchanal’ – Dicentra formosa cultivar – deep red
Dicentra ‘Ivory Hearts’ – Dicentra peregrina × Dicentra eximia ‘Alba’ – white
Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’ – Dicentra peregrina × (Dicentra formosa subsp. oregana × Dicentra eximia)
Dicentra ‘Luxuriant’ – Dicentra eximia × Dicentra peregrina
Hybrids involving Dicentra peregrina are often intolerant of hot-humid climates and sun like the species itself.

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