Natives of North America or eastern Asia, also
called Lyre Flower or Lock and Keys.
The perennial species of this genus now in cultivation
are the old garden favourite Dicentra spectabilis, from
Siberia and Japan, at one time known as dielytra,
with elegant, finely cut foliage and bearing on
two-feet arching stems pendent flowers, heart-shaped,
deep rose, with inner petals of white that protrude
There is also a white-flowered form.
Dicentra eximia and Dicentra formosa have finer foliage with
smaller flowers of rose.
Dicentra chrysantha, known as Golden Eardrops, reaches
a height of three feet and bears golden yellow
flowers; rather a rarity.
A rich light soil in partial shade will suit these
easily grown plants admirably and a large established
clump is most attractive.
Dicentra spectabilis, although long cultivated in Britain,
is used more often for forcing in January than
as a garden plant.
Propagation is by means of division of the roots
when growth appears, or root cuttings.
The flowering season is in spring.
Dicentra – Dielytra, Lyre-flower,
Bleeding Heart etc.
Eighteen inches to two feet.
Flowers rose and white in April and May.
There are several varieties of Dicentra (the
name which has superseded the older Dielytra,
and still causes a good deal of confusion).
Dicentra eximia is a low-growing variety with purplish
flowers, but by far the most desirable of the
family is Dicentra spectabilis, whose light-green foliage,
showing the character of the Fumitory tribe to
which the plant belongs, is crowned in spring
with arching sprays of pendant rose-pink flowers,
somewhat heart-shaped, with a protruding white
The roots should be
planted in autumn in good deep soil; they are
hardy, in ordinary winters at least; but the shoots
appear so early in the spring that a sheltered
corner or the neighbourhood of a wall is desirable
Dicentra may be increased by dividing the roots
when the year’s growth is over and the stems
withered; but if it is found to do well, it should
not be meddled with for several seasons.
of the dead stems and a top-dressing at the annual
clearing-up are all the culture required by an
established clump. There is a variety of Dicentra spectabilis
with entirely white flowers.