Monday, April 18, 2011

Dutchman's Breeches

For some Native American tribes, Dutchman's Breeches represented an important love charm.  If a man chews this plant, a woman picking up the scent will follow him anywhere. If you try this method of courting, perhaps not swallowing would be advised! Coffey, in The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowerswarns that some species in this genus are toxic to livestock and Wikipedia warns that this wildflower "may be toxic and causes contact dermatitis in some people." Nevertheless, this wildflower does have a number of folk uses. 

This flower is yet another that Erika and I encountered in the west unit of the Cannon River Wilderness Area on 11 April 2011. This plant grows across most of eastern North America and also in the Pacific Northwest. The species is  grown in wildflower gardens, but not commonly, since it becomes dormant by summer.  The Missouri Botanical Garden suggests enjoying Dutchman's Breeches in native woodlands.

1 comment:

  1. My grandparents always had Dutchman's Breeches and Jack in the Pulpit and similar wildflowers in their garden in Northern NY, under and around some big hemlock trees. We kids loved searching for them.