Pacific Bleeding Heart

Scientific Name: Dicentra formosa

Fact Box:

  • Order: Ranunculales
  • Family: Papaveraceae
  • Genus: Dicentra
  • Species: D. formosa


With a base of thin, fern-like leaves, the pacific bleeding heart — also known as western bleeding heart — is a common perennial flower that can be spotted all over the North American west coast. A cluster of hanging heart-shaped flowers sits atop a tall, leafless stem, and the white, pink, or purple blossoms attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

However, make sure you don’t step on this flower, because it won’t be able to spring back, causing it to die!


Dicentra formosa
(Source: Wikimedia Commons,
no changes made)
Dicentra eximia
(Source: Flickr)
Lamprocapnos spectabilis
(Source: Wikimedia Commons, image cropped)

Pacific Bleeding Heart

  • Cluster of flowers
  • Short, wide flowers

Wild Bleeding Heart

  • Cluster of flowers
  • Long, thin flowers

Asian Bleeding Heart

  • “Chain” of flowers
  • More heart-shaped


Medicinal: The pacific bleeding heart can be used externally and internally. Made into a tincture, it has pain relieving and calming effects.

Other: The black seeds of the pacific bleeding heart have a small white piece of “fat” attached to it that attracts ants. The ants then take the seed back home, which helps spread the plant’s seeds.