Herb: Squirrel Corn

Latin name: Dicentra canadensis

Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Medicinal use of Squirrel Corn:

The dried tubers are alterative, diuretic and tonic. The tubers are useful in the treatment of chronic cutaneous affections, syphilis, scrofula and some menstrual complaints.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)


Habitat of the herb:

Rich woods.

Edible parts of Squirrel Corn:

Root. No further details are given.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown in early spring. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 6 months at 15C. Two weeks warm stratification at 18C followed by six weeks at 2C can shorten up the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings 7 - 10cm long in sandy soil in a cold frame.

Cultivation of Squirrel Corn:

Rich woods.

Known hazards of Dicentra canadensis:

The plant is potentially poisonous and can also cause skin rashes.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.