The bleeding heart has long, soft and feathery leaves that grow in green stems at least 20 centimetres tall. The flowers look like pink and purple hearts, and grow in clusters at the end of a stem.
RANGE & HABITAT
Bleeding heart grows from southern B.C., on the coast and near the Rocky Mountains, all the way down to California. It lives in moist forests and woodlands, especially near stream banks.
Flowers appear in spring to early summer, and they turn into seedpods full of black seeds. Ants like the oil in the seeds, and they carry them from the plant throughout the forest. Bleeding heart also spreads from its thick stems.
The seeds have rich oily parts that ants like to eat, so the ants spread the seeds throughout the forest.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Bleeding heart contains a poison that is dangerous to plants and animals, so not many people eat it. The roots can be used to make a drink that helps skin problems and other diseases.
Some people have been known to make a drink from the roots to treat syphilis (a disease) and cramps.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk