Monday, May 02, 2011
The Truth About Bleeding Hearts
An easy name to pronounce, even the most timid gardener, still unsure of her botanical names, might be willing to pronounce it out loud in front of other gardeners.
But this name is no more! Fellow gardeners, a tip of the hoe to Layanee of Ledge and Gardens for alerting me that the plant taxonomists changed the name of bleeding heart, now formerly Dicentra spectabilis, to...
I can hear everyone saying it now... "Again?" "Why?" "How does this help?"
Ours is not to wonder why, ours is to remember both names because it is apparently taking awhile for those who sell bleeding hearts to catch up to this genus name change. It will likely be sold for years to come as Dicentra. And no, it does not make you look smarter as a gardener to see it labeled as such at the garden center and announce to no one in particular, "Oh, look Lamprocapnos spectabilis! When will they catch up to its new name. Dicentra is its old name."
Nor will you look smart if you start in on how it is in the Fumiariaceae family, commonly called the fumitory family.
None of that will make you look smart at all because apparently, this name changed was published in 1997. How could we have missed it?
To find out more about this name change, I went down the rabbit hole and came up with some scholarly journals that made very little sense, but then took a turn somewhere and discovered the book Bleeding Hearts, Corydalis, and Their Relatives By Mark C. Tebbitt, Magnus Lidén, and Henrik Zetterlund (2008, Timber Press, $34.95).
Some of the content of this book appears online via Google books. I've looked through enough of it that now I want my own copy. That's what happens sometimes in those ol' rabbit holes. You find stuff you didn't know existed and then you want it, just like that. Be forewarned should you decide to go down a rabbit hole yourself. If it is your first time, consider taking a guide with you.
I also want some more Lamprocapnos for my garden, such a sweet spring bloom, even though it is a fumitory from the Fumiariaceae family. It is easy to grow and asks for very little in the garden - partial to full shade, good soil, regular watering, and an occasional admiring glance at its unusual looking blooms. The one I have now is a passalong plant from my sister, the one who does not garden, which begs the question of how she had a plant that I took a start of for my own garden.
I'll leave that answer for another day and spend today committing Lamprocapnos to memory. It's about time, I'm 14 years behind!