White Bleeding Heart

'Alba' Fringed Bleeding Heart; or,
Wild White Eastern Bleeding Heart


"Love in Fantastique Triumph satt,
Whilst bleeding Hearts around him flow'd."

-Aphra Beh
(1640-1689)

   

We had earlier planted one of the more sensitive Dicenta eximia cultivars, "Snowdrift," which did not make it through its second year. So we replaced it with the visually identical, naturally occuring D. eximia variant alba which is as vigorously species-hardy as the regular Pink Eastern Bleeding Heart.

'Alba' has the smallest heart-shaped flowers of any of our several species & cultivars of bleedinghearts, including the pink D. eximia, but produces its small enlongated hearts in such numbers that it is nevertheless quite showy.

It is everblooming from May to September or until the first serious frost, blooming even at the height of summer just so long as it never completely dries out & has a little shaded protection.

Clumping to about sixteen inches height, it can spread a great deal over time, by means of rhizomes. It self-seeds easily, though some of the seedlings will show pink in the flowers. It can also be propogated by spring division.

D. eximia due to the appearance of small cream-ivory bulbs is sometimes called Squirrel Corn or Turkey Corn, from a belief that wildlife digs at the roots to find the corms to eat. For the flowers which look as much like frilly pants as they do like heart lockets, D. eximia has sometimes been called Dutchman's Breeches, though this name is nowadays more commonly used of D. cucullaria with flowers more strikingly pataloon-like. Because livestock may get "stoned" browsing too much from species within the Dicentra & similar Corydalis genuses, these are additionally sometimes called Staggerweeds.

The origin of another common name for these genuses, Fumaria, is lost to antiquity, but likely some varieties in were long ago used for breathing smoke for alleged health purposes or to repel demons.

According to 17th & 18th Century pharmacopaeas, this very species along with corydalises native to New York & New England, gained a popularity in alliopathic medicine. Alkaloids being were in water or alcohol, from the yellowish white squirrel-tooth bulbs, & used as a tonic for stress & internal organs.

   



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