Archive for May 3rd, 2011


One of the loveliest of the early spring wildflowers is Bloodroot. It is a native of Ontario and widespread throughout Eastern North America, where it prefers damp forests and stream edges. This particular patch is growing in my garden, under an oak tree. Its presence here predates my own, but it had become overgrown with grass, and I moved the plant last spring, clearing out the grass and giving it a new start. It appears to be happy with its new location and has settled in well.

Bloodroot is a member of the Poppy family. Its common name echoes its scientific name, Sanguinaria canadensis, and refers to the plant’s bloodlike red-orange juice. Native Americans used the plant to produce a dye used in craftwork and as body paint.


I dug up a single flower and set it on a sheet of white paper. You can see a little dab of coloured sap to the right of the leaf. Each flower stem is embraced by a single deeply lobed leaf. The flowers only open in full sunlight, and close at night, or on dull, overcast days. The closed evening blooms are almost as charming as their open sunlit selves, snuggled cozily into their leafy bed for the night.


Read Full Post »