By Tammy Sons
The plant, Dutchman’s breeches, or the scientific name Dicentra Cucullaria is found primarily in the woods of the eastern part of North America. One only has to see the flowers on this plant to figure out how it got its common name. The flowers on this plant resemble breeches worn by men in early Colonial America and England. The flowers are generally white and bloom in the spring. The most unusual aspect of the flower on this plant is that there is no fragrance. Dutchman’s breeches are one of a handful of plants that actually use ants to help with reproduction. The ants are attracted to the plant and take the seeds back to their nests, which are normally underground. The seeds then grow and eventually flower and the cycle begins again. This is a plant that was used by Native Americans in several ways. They used the plant for medicinal purposes such as treating syphilis and skin conditions. This plant also contains chemicals that have an effect on the brain and the heart as well. In fact, early physicians also used this plant for its medicinal qualities. This plant also has a dark side as well. In some cases it can cause an allergic reaction on the skin such as dermatitis and in severe cases, has even proved to be toxic to some people. When coming in contact with this particular plant, it is a good idea to be cautious. It can be dangerous and even fatal if eaten by some animals.