Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A place in our hearts

Every coastal BC native plant garden needs a patch of bleeding hearts. Beside the Campbell River Museum, they grow at the bottom of the north hill, at the edge of the bush. It's half sunny there, but damp, just the way bleeding heart likes it.

Dicentra formosa

The bleeding heart flower has four petals, but the most visible ones are the two pouched ones that make the heart shape. Where are the other two? Hidden inside. They are completely covered by the heart, except at the very bottom, where they join again, to make the droplet of "blood" that gives the flower the first part of its name.

Each flower head may have up to 15 flowers.

The plants will bloom until the weather heats up, die down for the summer, then flower again in the fall, if the weather is to their liking.

The humble little flower has its part in our history:

The Pacific bleeding-heart (Dicentra formosa subsp. formosa) was discovered by the Scottish surgeon and naturalist Archibald Menzies* on the Vancouver Expedition. Menzies collected seed in 1792 in Nootka Sound, and gave it to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1795. From there, seed made its way into cultivation in Europe. It apparently was not cultivated in the United States until 1835, when William Kenrick began selling the plant in Boston. (From Wikipedia)
*Menzies was accompanying Captain George Vancouver on his voyage around the world on HMS Discovery. They arrived in Nootka in July or August of 1792, where Menzies found bleeding heart gone to seed.

150 some years later, I arrived in Tahsis, slightly north of Nootka Sound, where I found bleeding hearts blooming thickly in the rain beside the hill road. Not one for the history books, but an important memory in my personal album.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!