the Dutchman has a Bleeding Heart

Congrats to Shannon for correctly identifying the wild doppelgänger we can now call Corydalis.  The exact species I am still not sure of –  there seems to be many.  Someone on Flickr tagged a similar flower as Corydalis solida and said it was from their friend’s garden.  According to Nikki Phipps of, Corydalis is latin for “Crowned Lark” like the bird, pictured below.  It’s head shape is an exact mimic of the Corydalis flower.  Or vice versa.

Crowned Lark - borrowed from

Interestingly enough, this wildflower is related to Dutchman britches (also known as toothwort because of its resemblance to both).  The Dutchman and the Bleeding Heart are both in the Dicentra genus, but Corydalis falls under the greater umbrella of the “Bleeding Heart Family”.  There is a whole book about them available through Timber Press Publishing in Portland, Oregon. also has some helpful tips on gardening with the Bleeding Heart Family.

Dutchman's britches (Dicentra cucullaria) -borrowed from let me know Corydalis and Dicentra are categorized under the family name of Fumariaceae – the Fumitory family.  They are an extended family to the Papaveraceae (Poppy) family.  The Fumitory herbs are classified under a name which stems from the act of smoking.  I can see the Poppies being there, but the Bleeding Hearts?  I had no idea!  I’ll have to see if more information comes wafting my way.

by the lovely Cicely Mary Barker

It is so ironic and coincidental (…) that this Spring beauty has come forth, because the Bleeding Heart Spirit had been whispering to me for about a month now.  I wanted to buy a friend one as a birthday gift, but I wouldn’t buy the white version – and on her birthday someone showed up with a pink one!  Then this little herb is calling me, calling me and I have no idea what it is.  Not to mention the magic I now see with such a vast landscape of this wild Corydalis – apparently it does not reseed itself too heavily and a large patch like the one I’ve been walking by is rare.  My apologies for calling it invasive, it was only flourishing.

I helped my friend plant her new Bleeding Heart, and while deciding where to put it I had this feeling it didn’t want to be near the front door, but instead near the fence and protected.  The Bleeding Heart now lives facing the eastern side of the yard – a similar mini ecosystem to that of the wild Corydalis.

Bleeding Hearts, opened and closed -borrowed from

Bleeding Heart and the Corydalis make good medicine.  From the Flower Essence Repertory, Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz find that using “Bleeding Heart flower essence, the soul learns to fill itself from within with strong spiritual forces, so that the capacity to love another is based on the ability to honor and nourish the Self.”  They discuss beforehand that those who need Bleeding Heart are emotionally dependent on someone (or something) no longer in their life, pouring their heart out to something other than themselves.  You can also see the medicine this plant would bring to someone who may not give enough heart.

Like cures Like.

Andrew Chevallier in his Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine discusses Corydalis ambigua and its ancient history in China being used as relief from menstrual cramps, pain relief, and traumatic injuries.  It is thought to “invigorate the blood” and act as an antispasmodic.

Perfect timing for this Spirit Medicine in my life!  I will continue to meditate and invite the Bleeding Heart Family Spirit to stick around through the summer – which may require making a flower essence before their short Spring flower time is over.

 oox  ❤  ❤  ❤   xoo


4 thoughts on “the Dutchman has a Bleeding Heart

  1. Pingback: The Dutchman’s Fab Doppleganger « Herbaloo

  2. Hi there my little heart filled wonder 🙂 I was going to write and tell you that on the day I read the previous blog Claire called me up and said she was dividing her bleeding heart and did I want some for myself and for T&G. I went over to help her divide it and saw the leaves looked like the one you were showing! It is now near the rock in the front of the house and in a pot to go to the front of T&G’s new house! Looks like we all are feeling the same!
    BTW – you REALLY need to see the movie “I AM”. Placing this on your blog since I feel it would benefit all who read you to see this fabulous movie “We are all connected”.
    Sending you my heart messages via the wind on the apple blossom petals…

    • Perfectly cosmic – we are connected even though we are far apart.

      The movie seems interesting – a man once wrapped up in Hollywood almost dies and now searches for the greater purpose – and our connectedness to each other. Seems great for the mainstream, glad it is being promoted, and thank you for sharing!

      Question for you: What is your experience with growing Bleeding Hearts? I am wondering what exactly they prefer when it comes to sunlight, etc. Much appreciated XoXoXo

      … the Apple Blossoms have whispered to me

    Link above for bleeding hearts.
    They seem to like to be protected, and only ½ day full sun – mine get morning, Claire’s get afternoon. Mine is a different variety and stays blooming for several weeks and stays green until the fall. Claire’s, and I believe most bleeding hearts, die in June and then come back next spring. The leaves on mine are smaller and have more “toes” than Claire’s does. (I think they look like paw prints).

    So, if you end up with one that dies back it is good to plant it close to something that does not really get going until June – maybe peonies, or even later, I am placing rudebekia around the ones from Claire I put out front near the rock. They did not seem to like to be moved while in bloom so I will have to wait until next May to see if they fully make it!

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