Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to rich woods of eastern North America, with a disjunct population in the Columbia River Basin.
The common name Dutchman's breeches derives from their white flowers that look like white breeches.
Lowry refers to the plant in his novel Ultramarine; "Andy, the Dutchman's breeches, ha ha!" (Pg. 40). This reference is to the Native Americans and early white practitioners use of the plant for treating syphilis. Andy the cook on board the Oedipus Tyrannus is suffering from venereal disease.