Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How's About A Plant Quiz? - We've Got A Winner!

I recently posted this photo as a plant quiz...

Keith wasn't fooled by my shenanigans. These are the bulblets of the roots of Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches. These bulblets go dormant after the plant goes to fruit, and they remain dormant until fall. The beginning stages of leaves and flower buds are then formed underground. These primordial leaves and flower buds remain dormant until the spring, when they emerge from the mesic forest floor.

Dicentra cucullaria

There is a spectacular photo of a Dicentra cucullaria plant, including flower, leaves, and root with bulblets on flickr that you can access by clicking here.

Keith mentioned the bulblets of Dicentra canadensis looking similar to those in my quiz but being more round and more yellow-orange. That's exactly right, and a photo of these bulblets is shown above. Some botanists claim to be able to distinguish between these two closely related species based on the color of the undersides of the leaves... if you're ever in doubt, just clear off a little soil and check out the bulblets to tell for sure which species you are dealing with.

Dicentra canadensis


Tom Arbour said...

How 'bout Cardamine douglassii?

Keith Board said...

I've seen corms of Squirrel Corn that look somewhat like that, but more roundish and more yellow-orange. So I'm going to try Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches. Ha! Funny filename!

Scott Namestnik said...

Good call, Keith. I'm glad I changed the file name before posting the quiz! Gotta be sneaky around you!

Keith Board said...

Well, my answer wasn't completely right since I called them corms, but I've always thought they were corms, so this was a good learning experience. Thanks Scott!

Scott Namestnik said...


When I began my post, I was calling them corms, too. Then I checked a few resources and found out they were bulblets on the rhizome. That's part of why I enjoy posting blog entries... I learn plenty, too, while doing the research.