Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) flowers along the Lewis Creek trail

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

Aliases:  Pacific Bleeding Heart

Family:  Poppy (Papaveraceae)

Bleeding Heart likes shady, moist areas, making it a trial for the authors of wildflower guides, since it's uncannily difficult to photograph in focus unless it's in the sun. The flowers hang off the end of the stem like the fixture on a gooseneck lamp, and against the green backgrounds in which they tend to grow, they can appear to be floating midair, especially if you're photographing them through a macro lens with nice bokeh.

Lifespan:  Perennial

Origins:  Native (see distribution maps for California and US/Canada)

Blooms:  May - July

Dicentra formosa etymology:  Dicentra is a Greek term meaning "double spurred," referring to the way the tips of the petals flare out. Formosa is from the Latin word formosus, meaning "beautiful."

This Photo:  Along the Lewis Creek trail, early June. I've also seen it on the Carlon Falls trail.

Other Resources:   CalFlora  ·  CalPhotos  ·  USDA  ·

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