Bloodroot: Wildflower Wednesday

– Posted in: Native/Invasive, Plant info

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is the first and only native wildflower blooming around here. (Coltsfoot is blooming also, but it’s not native.) There is an area of brushy shrubs and saplings steps away from the back deck that has a generous patch of bloodroot. This brushy area has no raison d’être; it seems to merely be an area that was never mowed, and so the trees and shrubs growing there are the kind that would spring up from seeds planted by birds. I sometimes wonder if it wasn’t mowed precisely because the bloodroot grew there.

bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis

The roots, when broken, ooze a red juice that gives bloodroot its name.

The juice, or sap, found in bloodroot roots has too much of an orange tint to it to look like actual blood–at least to my eyes. When bloodroot emerges, the leaves are wrapped around the flower stalk, looking like chilly swimmers who just got out of the pool and have wrapped a big beach towel around their shoulders.
bloodroot, a wildflower, wrapped in leaves

These bloodroots have their leaves wrapped tight around them, as if chilly.

I have grown the double form at the old house for many years, and brought some to my new garden. None of it is blooming yet.
double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex'

Double bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’. Photo by Kathy Purdy, April 25, 2008

The single bloodroot is winsome; the double form is gorgeous. It lasts longer because it cannot be pollinated and doesn’t drop its petals to devote all its energy to making seeds. Being stoloniferous, they lend themselves to a casual ground cover treatment in shade, and make good companions for hostas, ferns, or other spring ephemerals. You can divide the rhizomes into pieces if you want them to spread faster.

Posted for Wildflower Wednesday, created by Gail of Clay and Limestone, to share wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. “It doesn’t matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. It’s always the fourth Wednesday of the month!”

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Donna@GardensEyeView May 4, 2014, 9:53 pm

I like the new look…and I adore bloodroot which I am profiling this month…great shots of it…such a great but fleeting flower.

Ilona1 May 3, 2014, 2:08 am

Now I wish I had a woodsy garden for all those gorgeous wildflowers like the bloodroots. Beautiful photos.

commonweeder May 2, 2014, 7:00 am

I don’t have any bloodroot personally, but I am on our Bridge of Flowers committee and the Bridge has single and double bloodroot. Trillium and ladyslippers, jack in the pulpits will be coming along soon.

Frank April 25, 2014, 8:37 pm

That double bloodroot is amazing! So white and perfect. You’re lucky to have it growing so well, I’ve only ever seen it once in a garden and never in the wild…. I need to get out more!

Weedy April 24, 2014, 8:19 pm

I moved a few wild ones out of my woods years ago and they have spread all around my yard (I am going to be in trouble with the village if I don’t mow one of these years) The doubles are wonderful, I envy those. But the petals have fallen already and the daffodils have started here so I’m probably going to have a stretch without bloom by the middle of May.——————Weedy

Kerri April 24, 2014, 6:06 pm

I have a small clump growing by the hellebores and love to see it blooming. Wish the blooms lasted longer. I’m smiling at the image of your “chilly bathers in their bath towels” 🙂 Clever.
The doubles are beautiful!
That wind today is straight out of the arctic, isn’t it? I hope it’s gone by tomorrow.

Helen at Toronto Gardens April 24, 2014, 12:36 pm

Double bloodroot still happily multiplying in my garden, thanks to you Kathy.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern April 24, 2014, 10:47 am

I say this every year – Bloodroot is on my wishlist – why don’t I just plant some already?! I never knew there was a double form. Beautiful!

Sally April 24, 2014, 10:42 am

Beautiful pics! I knew nothing about Bloodroot except for the name and appreciate learning about it…….it’s an interesting plant…..and pretty.

Chloris April 24, 2014, 8:36 am

How amazing to have these gorgeous flowers growing wild. As for the double one; it is fabulous.

Joanne Toft April 24, 2014, 7:50 am

Great fun to see. In Mpls,Mn. My crocus are just blooming while everything else is just peeking out of the grow. Small green tips dotting my garden. I will check out the local Wildflower garden on Friday and let you know what is up in the wilds of the city. It is way to rainy today.

Donalyn@TheCreeksideCook April 24, 2014, 7:43 am

We have a nice patch of the wild kind growing along the creek – I am always glad to see them!

Gail April 24, 2014, 6:24 am

Wonderful wildflower and lucky you are that no one ever mowed where they’re growing!! I don’t have Bloodroot, but it bloomed in the woodlands where I hike a month ago. It’s fun to see these spring emphemerals again!

Layanee April 24, 2014, 6:20 am

Such a pretty patch of white! And, bonus, it is not snow! Soon you will have many blooms in your cold garden and the cold will give way to warmth. Enjoy the transition.

Leslie April 23, 2014, 10:13 pm

Those are beautiful Kathy! I love the leaves wrapped around the stems.