BLOODROOT, Sanguinaria canadensis

April 2011

Photo by Beth E. Schroeder
Bloodroot, a true harbinger of spring, blooms in mid-April. The flower bud emerges with a single leaf wrapped around the stem. The leaf unfurls to reveal a pure white, waxy flower with gold-colored stamens. Blooming time is short and if visiting bees do not fertilize the flower, the plant will self-pollinate. The seeds are a nutritious food source for ants, which are a further aid to propagation. The palmate-shaped leaves persist into summer. Bloodroot can be found in rich woodlands or along shaded streams. A bright orange sap exudes from all parts of the plant when cut. Native Americans used the root as a source of dye, love charm, and medicine. European settlers adopted it for medicinal uses, described in pharmacopoeias as early as the 1800s.

More information

US Department of Agriculture

Connecticut Botanical Society

Wikipedia