Squirrel Corn is easily confused with Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), but the shape of the flowers is an infallible marker. These are shaped like the common Bleeding-Hearts of our gardens; they lack the pointed lobes that make Dutchman’s Breeches look like a pair of pantaloons hung out to dry. These were blooming in Fox Chapel near the Trillium Trail at the beginning of May.
Gray describes the genus and the species:
DICÉNTRA Berah. Petals slightly cohering into a heart-shaped or 2-spurred corolla, either deciduous or withering-persistent. Stigma 2-crested and sometimes 2-horned. Filaments slightly united into two sets. Pod 10-20-seeded. Seeds crested. — Low stemless perennials (as to our wild species) with ternately compound and dissected leaves, and racemose nodding flowers. Pedicels 2-bracted. (Name from dis, twice, and kentron, a spur; — accidentally printed Diclytra in the first instance, which by an erroneous conjecture was changed afterwards into Dielytra.) Bikukulla Adams. Bicuculla Millsp.
Raceme simple, few-flowered.
D. canadensis (Goldie) Walp. (SQUIRREL CORN.) Subterranean shoots bearing scattered grain-tike tubers (resembling peas or grains of Indian corn, yellow); leaves as in no. 1 [Dutchman’s Breeches, D. cucullaria]; corolla merely heart-shaped, the spurs very short and rounded; crest of the inner petals conspicuous, projecting. (Bicuculla Millsp.) — Rich woods, N. S. to Ont. and Minn., s. to Va., Ky., and Mo. Apr., May. — Flowers greenish white tinged with rose, with the fragrance of hyacinths.