Squirrel Corn

Dicentra canadensis

Note the finely dissected leaves of this early spring ephemeral–so pretty, dainty, and fern-like! The leaves actually look very similar to Dutchman’s Breeches! But this is Squirrel Corn, so named because the bulbs of the plants look like little corn kernels. (See the illustration in the gallery below.)

Like Dutchman’s Breeches, Squirrel Corn has small white flowers that dangle from a raceme above the leaves. But instead of dangling “pantaloons”, these flowers are distinctly heart-shaped and more-closely resemble Bleeding Hearts.

Look for this plant in hardwood forests on rich soils with rocky outcrops. I found these plants growing along Rock Castle Creek Gorge in April.  They were not in bloom when I saw them, hence the “borrowed photo” above from Wikipedia.

Learn more about how to discern these two lookalikes.

Dicentra canadensis, Squirrel Corn, Photo credit: By Fritzflohrreynolds – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

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