Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) is the largest, rarest, last to bloom, and probably the most stunning of the Smoky Mountains Dicentras. The other two in this family are Dutchman’s Breeches and Squirrel Corn. The word “dicentra” in Greek means “two-spurred,” and describes the unique shape of the blossoms.
The photos on this page were all taken along Laurel Creek Rd, about a mile west of the entrance to Tremont. This wildflower loves to find a foothold on the rock walls that border the road. Look for the distinctive blooms in April. Another sure spot to find them is along Abrams Falls Trail. About halfway to the falls there is a rock wall along Arbutus Ridge.
Note the foliage of this wildflower, which is common to all three of the Dicentras. Spotting this foliage is often the best way to locate these plants.
The wild form of Bleeding Heart is similar but not the same as the Asian garden variety, which has larger blossoms.
Dicentra eximia is sometimes called Turkey Corn, and also Staggerweed, because of its ability to intoxicate animals that graze on it.
Bleeding Heart is a Smoky Mountains wildflower that is not often seen, and its rarity only adds to the appreciation of its beauty.
The William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd in Gatlinburg offers the full display of my Smoky Mountains photos. I’d love to have you come in for a visit to chat about wildflowers or browse the collection to find a mountain memory for your home.
If you are a wildflower enthusiast, please join the discussion on the Smoky Mountains Wildflowers page on Facebook. You’ll find lots of tips on where and when to locate these little treats.