Herbs & Plants

Dicentra eximia

Botanical Name: Dicentra eximia
Family: Papaveraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Dicentra
Species: D. eximia

*Bicuculla eximia (Ker Gawl.) Millsp. Bikukulla eximia (Ker Gawl.) *Druce. Capnorchis eximia (Ker Gawl.) Planch. Capnorchis eximia

Common Namers: Dwarf bleeding heart, Turkey-corn

Habitat: Dicentra eximia is native to the Eastern North America – Appalachian Mountains. It grows in forest and mountain areas from New York to Georgia and Tennessee growing on forest floors, rocky woods and ledges on rocky soils in the Appalachian Mountains. Shade-loving.

Dicentra eximia is a beautiful perennial herb that grows up to 1 & 1/2 feet. The leaves are basal, lacy and fern-like on long petioles with toothed margins. The flowers give the plant its name – pink, hollow heart-shaped charms that dangle like lanterns on a strand. The outer two petal tips are spreading, with the inner petals fused at the tip and crested. The flowers are pollinated by Birds, Bees, Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.


This herb grows in moist thickets, forests and stream banks in western North America from British Columbia to central California, in central and north coast mountain ranges to the coast, and in some places in central north western North America.

An herbaceous perennial growing well in semi-shade. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 9. Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0. Life Span: Long-Lived Perennial. Stand Persistence: Long. Form: Upright. Texture: Fine. Sun: Partial Shade, Shade. Soil Type: Loamy, Silty. Soil Moisture: Moderate. Minimum Root Depth: 6 inches (15cm). Root Type: Rhizome, Fibrous Shallow. Fungal Types: Endomycorrhizal. Seasonal Interest: Summer. Will tolerate full sun if given sufficient moisture. Requires rich well-drained soil. Flowering may stop in areas with very hot weather. Will not go dormant in midsummer like the Common Bleeding Heart as long as the soil is kept moist. Tolerant of proximity to black walnut trees. Fruit Type: Capsule. Flower Color: Pink, Red, White. Drought: Sensitive. Flood: Intolerant. Salt: Intolerant. Soil Compaction: Sensitive. Mowing: Intolerant. Cold Injury: Infrequent. Disease Issues: Minor. Insect/Pest Damage: Minor. Animal Damage: Deer, Rabbits. Growing Season: Cool. Bloom Time: Late Spring – Early Fall. Fruit Time: Fall – Winter [318-1]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form – tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2]. The root pattern is fibrous dividing into a large number of fine roots.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts used: root & leaf, root is strongest

Medicinal actions: tonic alterative, analgesic

Preparation: fresh root tincture, dry root tincture or dry herb tincture; flower essence

Indications: Not a common herb to find in the western herbalists medicine chest, bleeding heart is a medicinal native that Michael Moore describes as a tonic herb for strengthening and healing some kinds of weakened people, and as an analgesic remedy for deeper nerve pain and imbalances.

Bleeding Heart has been used by Native people as a toothace remedy and can be combined with other nervines such as California Poppy, Pedicularis or Yarrow to create a well-rounded remedy for different types of nerve pain from surface to deep. The plant can also be poulticed and applied to sprains, bruises or wounds to address pain, and may be most effective when combined with topical application of the tincture beneath a hot towel.

The tincture internally can address nervous system issues like fibromyalgia and RSDS, and bleeding heart close upbleeding heart foliagebeyond physical pain it can be helpful with nervous fear & anxiety due to shock, grief or stress. it can aslo relieve a hypersensitive type of overall weakness, and has been used historically for building appetite, stimulating metabolism and bolstering the health, strength and vitality of a person who has been chronically weakened by illness or cold, dry anxiety. The flower essence can be useful in healing an aching, wounded or broken heart, or increasing powers of compassion for yourself or others.

Other Uses:
Groundcover: A medium density moderately good groundcover for shade and semi-shade. Colonizes very slowly through rhizomes. Wildlife Food: The nectar is sought by hummingbirds. Wildlife Habitat: Provides cover for small wildlife. Insectory: Attracts beneficial insects.. Good companion plants include; Jacobs Ladder and Wild Columbine. Cut Flowers. Ornamental: Ornamental foliage and flowers. The foliage is deeply cut and fern-like, and does not die back like the common bleeding heart. Flowers are shades of pink and white and heart shaped

Known Hazards : Fatal in large quantities. Symptoms include: trembling, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and labored breathing. Skin irritation after repeated contact with the cell sap is mild and short-lasting.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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