Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Wild Bleeding-heart - Dicentra eximia   (Ker-Gawler) Torrey
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Section 6 » Order Papaverales » Family Fumariaceae
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Author(Ker-Gawler) Torrey
DistributionNearly throughout the mountains; does not range downstate.

This is an Appalachian endemic species, ranging from NY south to extreme northwestern SC.
AbundanceDespite it being known from 16 counties -- nearly all of the mountain counties -- it is a rare species, limited to only a few known sites in each county, on average. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatThis is a species of rocky places -- cliffs, roadcuts, rocky open slopes, talus slopes, and a variety of exposed rock outcrops. It is not normally found on mafic or calcareous rocks, but has a wide array of rock types on which it is found. Sites can be rather damp/humid, or dry and exposed.
PhenologyBlooms from April to June, and fruits in July and August.
IdentificationThis is a beautiful species, that (unfortunately) is not seen often enough to be thoroughly enjoyed by a large number of people. It is vegetatively similar to the other two Dicentra species, having pinnately-compound leaves from the base, with the ultimate segments being narrow. There is a separate flowering stalk, reaching about 1 foot tall. The handful of flowers are in a panicle instead of a raceme as in the others, with the flowers being medium to deep pink in color. Each flower dangles downward, like D. canadensis in shape (narrowly heart-shaped -- with two rounded lobes close together at the top), and about 4/5-inch long, the two flaring corolla lobes at the bottom. In leaf only, it can look quite a bit like the other two Dicentra species, but they grow in the shade of a rich hardwood forest, usually on a slope with high pH soil. Thus, a plant growing on a dry or mesic rocky outcrop should be this one, as the somewhat similar Capnoides sempervirens has glaucous pale green to blue-green leaves that are less deeply cut. To see this scarce species, you may need to hike to some exposed outcrops far away from roads, though there a few places in NC where it grows on roadcuts.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Turkey Corn, Fringed Bleeding-heart
State RankS3 *
Global RankG4
State StatusSR-P
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