Bleeding hearts, aka ear-drops or fire hearts,
is an erect, glaucous, several-stemmed perennial herb growing to 6'
tall with most of the leaves near the base of the plant. Anyone who
is familiar with California poppy herbage would probably recognize this
as a member of the poppy family, the leaves being 3-pinnate and deeply
dissected into many fine linear, almost feathery, green segments. The
flowers are cream to white colored with petal tips that are tinged with
purple and are crowded in dense clusters. Each somewhat flattened flower
has two sepals that are deciduous at anthesis, and four petals in two
pairs, the outer ones larger and spreading at the tips, and the inner
ones shorter, rounder, and fused at the tip to form a protective cover
over the six stamens and single pistil. Bleeding hearts grows
on dry slopes and disturbed ground in chaparral below 3000' from the
Santa Ana Mts to the Santa Ynez and Santa Lucia Mts, blooming from May
to July. It is also a notable fire follower. These pictures
were taken in the Santa Monica Mts.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Ehrendorferia
Pronunciation: er-en-dorf-er-EE-a oke-ro-LYU-ka.
Formerly Dicentra ochroleuca.
Click here for Botanical