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Bleeding Hearts
Genus: Dicentra
Family: Fumariaceae
Type: Annuals and herbaceous perennials
Pollination: Insect

Dicentra is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Fumariaceae, native to Asia and North America. The common name Bleeding heart is used for many of the species. This name comes from the appearance of the pink flower, which resembles the shape of a heart with a drop of blood descending.

All members of the genus are toxic if eaten by humans, housepets, or livestock.


Foliage is basal and alternate, pinnately dissected or compound, lacking stipules, and without hairs. Stems contain a thick, clear juice. Roots are rhizomes, tubers, taproots, or fibrous. Fruit an elongated capsule.

Many species are late ephemerals, dying down in mid to late summer.

Growing conditions[edit]

Deep, rich soils in light shade to shade.



Cut back when leaves are fully yellowed.


Division or seed

Pests and diseases[edit]

Dicentra cucullaria

Leaf Spots Downy Mildews Peronospora dicentrae Wilts

Stem Rots

  • Pellicularia rolfsii


  • Cerotelium dicentrae (alt host Wood Nettles)

Viruses Slugs and Snails


  • Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy A. Block (2000). The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. Anna Anisko, illustrator. Morris Arboretum, University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 435–436. 
  • Christopher Brickell and Judith D. Zuk (1997). The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. DK Publishing. pp. 362–363. 
  • Staff of the L. H. Bailey Hortorium (1976). Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press. pp. 380–381. 
  • Pirone, Pascal P. (1978). Diseases & Pests of Ornamental Plants (Fifth Edition ed.). John Wiley & Sons, New York. pp. 242.