Dutchman’s Breeches are one of the most common flowers at Shenks Ferry. You’ll also find its relative Squirrel Corn, which has the more classic shape of a bleeding heart.

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches) is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to rich woods of eastern North America. The common name Dutchman’s breeches derives from their white flowers that look like white breeches.

Height is 15-40 cm. Root is a cluster of small pink to white teardrop-shaped bulblets. Leaves are 10-36 cm long and 4-18 cm broad, with a petiole up to 15 cm long; they are trifoliate, with finely divided leaflets.

Flowers are white, 1-2 cm long, and are born in spring on flower stalks 12-25 cm long.

Dutchman’s breeches is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.

Shenks Ferry is an amazing place, at least 73 species of flowers bloom from mid-March until the end of May. More than 60 other species of flowers bloom during the summer and fall.

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Canon 5D
Voigtländer SL Macro APO-Lanthar 125mm
1/200 @ f/8 (ISO 400)
Single RAW file converted through DxO

Taken 4/15/11 at Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve near Pequea Pennsylvania

Plant description taken from excerpts of Wikipedia.


dutchmans breeches, wildflower, flower, shenks ferry wildflower preserve, pennsylvania, white, dicentra cucullaria

Tim Devine is a landscape and nature photographer from Central Pennsylvania.

Tim Devine Photography

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  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsabout 3 years ago

    beautiful Tim. You are so good with white flowers :-)))

  • Thanks Vickie, I have a few more white flowers to put up. I never thought of it but most of the spring wildflowers I shoot are white. :-)

    – Tim Devine

  • Joseph T. Meirose IV
    Joseph T. Meir...about 3 years ago

    Awesome control of DoF. Fantastic details too. Bravo.

  • Thanks Joe! There was a pretty good breeze that day, took a lot of patience. :-)

    – Tim Devine

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeabout 3 years ago

  • Digitalbcon
    Digitalbconabout 3 years ago

    CONGRATULATIONS Tim on your Spotlight Feature!!

  • Thank you so much Blair for the spotlight feature and kinds words!

    – Tim Devine

  • valjones
    valjonesabout 3 years ago

    lovely scene

  • Thank you Val, much appreciated! :-)

    – Tim Devine

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsover 2 years ago

    January 13/12

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