Phenology Files: April 2023

phenology fi-ˈnä-lə-jē n 1 : a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (such as bird migration or plant flowering) 2: periodic biological phenomena that are correlated with climatic conditions.

A beautiful phenological event takes place at our Siebert Creek Conservation Area in spring – Pacific bleeding heart comes into bloom and the trail is lined with gorgeous, tiny flowers.

Bleeding heart is a wonderful native pollinator that thrives in the moist understory of our region’s forests. While this species is common, it grows in incredible abundance along this trail. Hummingbirds can get nectar from the flowers and butterfly larvae feed on the plants as well. Ants are the key player in seed dispersal for Pacific bleeding heart. Each tiny black seed has a fatty oil on it. The ants carry them home to feast on the oily goodness and the bleeding heart gets a new home!

Pacific bleeding heart gets its Latin name, Dicentra formosa, from its heart-shaped pinkish purple flowers. Dicentra translates to “two-spurred” (in regard to the petal shape) and formosa means “beautiful, handsome, or well-formed.”

The height of the bloom here tends to be in late April. The Siebert Creek Conservation Area is the perfect stop right in between Sequim and Port Angeles, stop by for a walk and enjoy the flowers!

Photos by Courtney Bornsworth.