Squirrel Corn

Dicentra canadensis Papaveraceae

Growth habit

Herbaceous

Perennation

Perennial

Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region

Cultivation

A 2-5" tall ephemeral with white flowers and delicate foliage.
Light: shade to part sun
Moisture and Soil: moist, rich soil

Propagation

Seed Treatment and Storage: give warm/moist then cold/moist stratification

Wildlife value

Squirrel corn flowers are pollinated by queen bumble bees (Bombus spp.) foraging for nectar. "Robber bees" also feed on the nectar by perforating the spurs. Seeds are dispersed by ants. Herbivores avoid the foliage.

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Dicentra canadensis bloomed an average of 3.4 days later.

Poisonous

yes

Poisonous description

Like its relative dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), all parts of squirrel corn are poisonous to cats, cattle, and humans because the plant synthesises isoquinoline, a type of neurotoxic alkaloid.

Location

Mundy Wildflower Garden, McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog, Purvis Road Natural Area

Special characteristics

This spring flower's underground tubers look like little kernels of yellow corn. Pollinators often make holes in the spurred flower to get the nectar more easily.

Status

L4|S5|G5