I planted the tiny corms of Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) more than 15 years ago. It’s never bloomed abundantly for me, because it prefers richer soil than I have, but most years I see a few flowers around April 1. In recent years it hasn’t bloomed, so last year I divided the patch and moved the corms around, hoping to find a spot the plant liked better. Today this one bloomed in the original spot.
Dutchman’s breeches is named for the shape of the flower, which does look like a tiny pair of pantaloons hanging upside down. The plant is only a few inches high; it blooms in earliest spring and disappears very quickly. It’s in the same genus, Dicentra, as the bleeding hearts, which have showier pink flowers. Our native bleeding heart, D. eximia, which is about 8″ tall, will bloom soon. The showy old-fashioned bleeding heart is D. spectabilis, and it’s not native. The fourth member of the genus you might know is D. formosa, a non-native that’s very similar to D. eximia. If you have a shady spot with rich soil, D. cucullaria and D. eximia are well worth a try.