Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Dutchman's Breeches
Dicentra cucullaria
Papaveraceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Alterative, tonic[46, 61].

    The dried tubers were used as a tonic and were recommended in the treatment of VD[213].

    A tea made from the roots is diaphoretic and diuretic[222].

    A poultice made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of skin ailments and as a muscle rub to make them more limber[222].

    The plant contains an alkaloid that depresses the central nervous system – it is used in the treatment of paralysis and tremors[222].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    The plant is potentially poisonous and can also cause skin rashes[222].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[134]. Stored seed should be sown in March[175]. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 15¡c[175]. Two weeks warm stratification at 18¡c followed by six weeks at 2¡c can shorten up the germination time[134]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring[200]. Best done when the plant is dormant in late winter[188]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings 7 – 10cm long in sandy soil in a cold frame[200].
Easily grown in a rich light soil[1], preferably neutral to slightly acid[200]. Prefers light shade and a sheltered position[175] but also succeeds in heavier shade[200]. Plants are hardy to at least -20¡c[187]. The seed is difficult to harvest, it ripens and falls from the plant very quickly[134]. The plant becomes dormant in the summer[188]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to N. Carolina and west to Kansas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.