The arching stems of Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ are dripping with delicate hearts along the streamside.
Previously called Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ is a graceful member of the poppy family (Papaveraceae). In early spring it throws up lime-green foliage from fleshy roots, and as these emerge they reveal racemes of pure white, heart-shaped flowers, which hang elegantly in droplets. The straight species L. spectabilis originates from Japan, and was introduced to our gardens in 1846 by Robert Fortune. The flowers have pink outer petals and white inner petals, giving rise to the common name bleeding heart. This is a relatively easy species for humus-rich soil in semi-shade, and unusually, the white form is regarded as more robust than the straight species.