Whoever named these plants evidently thought very highly of them, as the specific epithet eximia means "distinguished" in Latin. When the Romans were preparing for an animal sacrifice and found a "choice" victim, that animal was called eximia (or eximius, if the animal was male).
Characteristics of Dicentra Eximia
Fringed bleeding heart plants reach a height of 12-18 inches with a similar spread. In addition to their romantically-shaped flowers, which first come out in spring, these perennials are valued for their grey-green, deeply dissected leaves. They bear several drooping flowers along a leafless stem. The flower color is commonly pink or reddish purple.
Sun and Soil Requirements
Plant in shade to partial shade. Dicentra eximia grows best in moist but well-drained ground. Furnish this perennial with a liberal dose of humus for optimal growth.
The fact that fringed bleeding heart plants are sometimes found in rocky soils in their native habitat suggests usage in rock gardens. However, they are not as tolerant of dry conditions as many perennials used in the rockery.
Growing such deer-resistant perennials is a great way to cut down on landscape maintenance.
The fringed, fern-like appearance of the foliage is the reason that some gardeners prefer Dicentra eximia to the showier and more widely grown bleeding hearts, D. spectabilis. The leaves are not only attractive but also persist through the summer heat, unlike those of D. spectabilis.
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) bears white flowers that truly do remind one of pairs of pants hung out to dry. Squirrel corn (D. canadensis), like Dutchman's breeches, has white flowers, but they assume a shape more like that of Dicentra eximia and D. spectabilis.