Pacific Bleeding Heart – Native Plant Spotlight

Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

This small perennial herb gets its name from its heart-shaped pink flowers, which hang in small clusters from the stems. It has lacy, fern-like leaves. Don’t confuse it with the weed Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), which has similar-looking foliage. Pacific bleeding heart likes moist but well-drained soil and partial shade. In the wild, it grows in woodland and streamside habitats.

Pacific bleeding heart is myrmecochorous, meaning that its seeds are transported by ants! The seeds have oils on them to attract hungry ants, who then carry the seeds away to germinate elsewhere. It’s a great plant for pollinators, as the leaves are eaten by butterfly larvae, and the flowers attract hummingbirds.

Pre-order Pacific Bleeding Heart from KCD’s Native Plant Sale starting November 15.

Emma Atkinson, 2022-2023 AmeriCorps Coordinator, Education


Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest by Russell Link. University of Washington Press, 1999.

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. New edition, Partners Publishing: Lone Pine Media Productions (B.C.) Ltd.: B.C. Ministry of Forests, 2016.

Featured Photo Credit:

Walter Siegmund – Own work, CC BY 2.5

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