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.