Dutchman’s Breeches is a shade-loving, spring ephemeral wildflower found in undisturbed mesic woods of most of the eastern U.S. In NC it is reported to occur in several mountain and piedmont counties, including our own Chatham County. Averaging six to ten inches tall, it has a basal rosette of finely-divided leaves spreading several inches across. From the center of this base the flower stalk arises, a semi-erect raceme of two to six dangling pairs of white, upside-down breeches-shaped flowers with yellow tips. As a spring ephemeral, the plant blooms early and goes dormant during the hot part of the summer. It forms colonies in the woods as its seeds are spread by ants (see below). Being delicate and pretty, this is a favorite shade garden plant, and can be propagated from bulblets on the roots. It is called Dutchman’s Breeches because the flowers are thought to resemble the uniform of the Dutch imperial solider, hanging out to dry.