Monday, April 1, 2013

Blood Root

I took this picture of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) yesterday and went out this morning to see if it was still there after last night's rain. It was gone. Under the best of circumstances, the delicate flower usually does not last more than a day. It has a single leaf that is wrapped around the bud as if to protect it. The bud pushes up past the leaf and expands. It is usually one of the first wildflowers, but this year, at least in my woodland garden, it fell behind schedule and quite a few other flowers have beaten it to the draw. The flower and leaf arise from a rhizome that if bruised or broken is a bright red color. Extracts of the plant were used in face paint and other dyes by Indians, and it is said to stain anything it touches. I personally wonder how  you could get enough of these to make into a dye. They are not that common in my woods. They are said to reseed readily and in some places  grow in large colonies. I have never seen this and always welcome the sight of one or two flowers and the roundish lobed leaf. Deer may like it and that could explain why it is not common here.It grows from Canada south to Florida and all the over the eastern US. It is a member of the Poppy family.

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