Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)


The above photo shows two favorite early spring blooming flowers:  Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Carolina spring beauty (Claytonia caroliniana).  Bloodroot grows in the central and eastern portions of North America.

Early within its life cycle each spring, the Bloodroot plant is only about 3 to 6 inches tall.


Its leaf shape varies — depending on whether this perennial plant is still young in age (number of years) or whether it is older.  This next grouping shows the leaves of more senior Bloodroot plants later in the season.  They are now about 12 inches tall.


After the petals drop from the Bloodroot flowers, the pistil’s ovary remains and matures into the seed capsule.


Here’s a close look at some immature seeds.


When ready, the seed capsule splits open and the seeds drop to the ground to be picked up and dispersed by ants interested in the attached elaiosome.  You can just see the broken seed capsule — with some seeds still attached — if you look carefully in the center of the photo.


Bloodroot is a perennial with a rhizome.  Its common name (and scientific name) highlight the blood red characteristic of the cut rhizome.


Watch this video for many more photos and a narrative of Bloodroot throughout one year of its life.


(Here’s the same video as posted on YouTube.)

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