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Pacific Bleeding Heart
Dicentra formosa ssp. formosa
  
About Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa ssp. formosa) 1 Nurseries Carry This Plant Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa ssp. formosa) is the more common subspecies of Dicentra formosa. It is a native perennial herb that grows in central and northern California. Leaves are finely divided and fernlike, growing from the base of the plant. Flowers are pink, red, or white and heart-shaped and bloom in clusters at the top of leafless, fleshy stems above the leaves from mid-spring to autumn, with peak flowering in spring. The four petals are attached at the base. The two outer petals form a pouch at the base and curve outwards at the tips. The two inner petals are perpendicular to the outer petals and connected at the tip. There are two tiny, pointed sepals behind the petals. Seeds are borne in plump, pointed pods. The plant self-seeds readily. It frequently goes dormant for the summer after flowering, emerging and flowering again in autumn.

This species is frequently confused with and sold as Dicentra eximia, which has narrower flowers and longer, more curved outer petal tips. D. formosa is related to Lamprocapnos spectabilis, another popular plant called "bleeding heart", which was formerly placed in the same genus. There are two subspecies: Ssp. formosa has leaves glaucous beneath and never glaucous above, flowers purple pink to pink or white. It grows on the western slope of Sierra Nevada, Coast Ranges to central California, Cascades, extreme southwestern British Columbia. Ssp. oregana has leaves that are glaucous above and beneath, flowers cream or pale yellow. It grows in a small area of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon.

In warmers areas in its range, it prefers shade. In cooler areas in its range, it prefers more sun.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Size
Size
2 ft tall
3 ft wide

Dormancy
Dormancy
Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Flower Color
Pink, Red, White

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Summer

Wildlife Supported
 
The genus Dicentra is host plant to the Clodius Parnassian butterfly

 
Butterflies & moths hosted ( 1 likely * ) SHOW ALL

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun, Part Shade, Shade

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 3x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Medium

Soil Description
Soil Description
Soil PH: 5.0 - 8.0

Propagation
Propagation?
Divisions of the rootstock. For propagating by seed: 3 mos. stratification.

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Damp areas

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 16.2" - 88.7", Summer Precipitation: 0.23" - 2.40", Coldest Month: 30.8" - 49.8", Hottest Month: 50.3" - 74.9", Humidity: 0.32" - 23.61", Elevation: 22" - 9047"


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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