Dutchman’s Breeches

Dutchmans' Breeches, Ephemeral Wildflower in Owen Conservation Park, Madison, Wisconsin

Dutchman’s Breeches © 2011 Bo Mackison

I finally discovered a few ephemeral wildflowers in the woods near my home. These tiny white flowers, hanging on a bright red stem, look a bit like the britches worn by men, so the story goes. I do not personally know any man who would be caught dead wearing this type of white and yellow breeches, but then again, the names of many wildflowers show a lot of creativity on the part of the people who named them.

The ephemerals–early spring flowers that bloom on the woodland floor before the trees leaf out and shade the ground–are finally blooming. I saw only bloodroot a week ago when I walked the forest trails. On my last walk in the woods, two days ago, quite a few other species were in bloom–hepatica, violets, and Dutchman’s breeches were in abundance.

Nice to see the earth coming alive with greenery and flowers.

The spring flowers are blooming and the sun is finally shining after the last days of April faded into May. Last month went on record as the cloudiest April in Wisconsin since the late 1800s.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    I love Dutchman’s Breeches. The name is great and the blossom so unique. Beautiful perspective on this plant.

  2. These are really pretty, Bo. I am just starting to get to know what blooms in our woods, and have not seen anything like this.

    I love your new look. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It’s an eastern wildflower, Robin. Grows early in the spring, wooded areas. You might have it in your area.

  3. Great shot and they are so pretty! I sure wish they grew in these parts: I’d love to see them in person!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      They are a delicate flower, but grow in patches so they make a rather handsome stand of waving “breeches.” 🙂

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