In Bloom: Squirrel Corn

By Suzanne Wodek

Dicentra canadensis is a native clump-forming perennial with small heart-shaped fragrant flowers and lacy foliage. It grows up to 12” tall and self seeds. Ideal planting conditions are dappled sunlight to medium shade, constantly moist natural to acidic loose soil and decaying organic matter.

Squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis). Anne Holmes, artist

The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by queen bumblebees. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards. The seeds are distributed to some extent by ants. Because all parts of the plant are poisonous, deer and rabbits usually avoid squirrel corn.

Its common name comes from the nodule-like yellow tubers clustering along the rootstock that resemble kernels of corn. This is a spring ephemeral, meaning that the foliage dies down by mid-summer and the plant goes dormant.

I tend to want to plant every bare area in my own garden and, for years, I have planned to make a garden map. Maybe this will be the year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gardens are open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Restrooms and drinking water are not available. The Visitors Center and Gift Shop are currently closed. Visit our online gift shop for some of our favorite items. All orders will be scheduled for no-contact pickup. Your purchases help support the Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens, located at 151 W.T. Weaver Boulevard, is a nonprofit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and memberships are encouraged. Learn more at AshevilleBotanicalGardens.org.

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