Squirrel Corn Dicentra canadensis (Goldie) Walpers    
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Papaverales   >   Family Papaveraceae   >   Genus Dicentra   

Status:

Squirrel Corn is a perennial plant that occurs throughout most of eastern North America.

Description:

Squirrel Corn grows from short, bulblet-bearing rhizomes. It is closely related, and similar in appearance, to Dutchman's Breeches. The flowers of both species have two pairs of petals. The outer pair form nectar spurs, which are rounded and heart-shaped in Squirrel Corn (and long and spreading in Dutchman’s Breeches). In both species, the two inner petals, which are much smaller than the outer ones, form the base of the flower. The leaves can be difficult to tell apart unless seen side by side: Both are compound, with finely divided leaflets, somewhat resembling a fern. Squirrel Corn leaves often have a more bluish tinge than Dutchman’s leaves.

Where to find:

Squirrel Corn is a spring ephemeral of rich, mesic cove and slope forests and rich flooplain foests (Weakley, et al., 2012).

Relationships:

The flowers of Squirrel Corn, like those of Dutchman's Breeches, are pollinated mainly by early bees (bumblebees) that have tongues long enough to reach into the spurs for nectar.

The seeds of both species are distributed by ants, which are attracted to fleshy or oily seed appendages called elaiosomes. Ants carry the seeds to their nests, eat the elaiosomes, and leave the seeds intact.

Because the foliage of Squirrel Corn and Dutchman's Breeches is toxic, it is usually avoided by mammalian herbivores, such as deer. This may partly explain why these two plant species can remain abundant in places where some other herbs have become uncommon.

There are 171 records in the project database.

View at Maryland Plant Atlas

Search Flora of North America

Search Mid-Atlantic Herbaria Consortium

Search Norton-Brown Herbarium

View taxon at iNaturalist

Search Google Images


[View seasonality details]
GA AL WA FR CLMO HOBABCHA CEPG AACVCHSMKEQACNTADOWISOWO
Squirrel Corn blooming in Savage River State Forest, Garrett Co., Maryland (4/12/2012). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Washington Co., Maryland (4/25/2016). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/14/2013). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/18/2017). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/18/2015). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Allegany Co., Maryland (4/27/2015). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/18/2015). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Garrett Co., Maryland (5/2/2015). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Washington Co., Maryland (4/8/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/13/2015). Photo by John R. Whitaker. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Harford Co., Maryland (5/3/2015). Photo by Wanda Prather. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Washington Co., Maryland (4/16/2020). (c) ptbrnchbob, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by ptbrnchbob via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Allegany Co., Maryland (5/1/2014). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/11/2020). (c) willet63, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by willet63 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Washington Co., Maryland (4/14/2013). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn (leaves) in Washington Co., Maryland (4/15/2018). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn blooming in Washington Co., Maryland (4/26/2014). Photo by Lisa Sheirer. (MBP list)

Squirrel Corn in Washington Co., Maryland (4/14/2013). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)


View All Images

Use of images featured on Maryland Biodiversity Project is only permitted with express permission of the photographer.

View Bibliography