PlantsSanguinaria→Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 12 to 14 inches
Plant Spread: 3 to 6 inches
Leaves: Spring ephemeral
Fruit: Other: Pod with pointed ends that splits open when ripe, and releases brown seeds with white growths (elaiosomes), which are eaten by ants
Fruiting Time: Spring
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Groundcover
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Toxicity: Roots are poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Needs a cold moist period, then a warm moist period, then another cold moist period before it will germinate. Each period should be 2-3 months.
Suitable for wintersowing
Sow in situ
Other info: Seed will die if it dries out. Often takes 2 years to germinate if sown outdoors.
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Other: Divide in early fall or early spring.
Pollinators: Bumblebees

Bloodroot 001

The All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden PlantsThe All Things Plants Top 25 List of Shade Garden Plants
By dave on May 3, 2014

Let's open Shade Gardens week with a list of the most active entries in our database. Among the thousands of plants that want full or mostly shade, which ones have the most pictures, comments and other details added? Let's find out!

(Full article15 comments)
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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 8:01 AM

Blood Root is good for a spring woodland garden. In early spring, solitary flower stems emerge through tightly folded, clasping leaves nestled among the previous year's litter. Flowers are snow white or rarely tinged with pink, 1 to 2 inches wide, and resemble fragile daisies with soft petals and bright yellow tufts of stamens in their centers. They stand a few inches or so, tall, erect, and quiver in the spring breezes. But in a day's time, the petals drop, and the large, rounded, deeply lobed, blue-green leaves start to unfurl and expand. Leaves may enlarge to a foot around until they disappear in the summer. Blood Root has a thick, brittle root or rhizome that exudes a red-orange juice when broken. It is because of the root that Blood Root can tolerate dry conditions in summer, but otherwise it likes even moisture and shade. (Sunlight Gardens)

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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Feb 8, 2012 2:12 PM

Honey bees get pollen from this plant.

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Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Apr 28, 2013 9:56 PM

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

"Sanguinaria canadensis, bloodroot, is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant native to eastern North America.

The flowers are produced from March to May, with 8-12 delicate white petals and yellow reproductive parts. The flowers appear over clasping leaves while blooming. The flowers are pollinated by small bees and flies, seeds develop in elongated green pods 40 to 60 mm in length and ripen before the foliage goes dormant. The seeds are round in shape and when ripe are black to orange-red in color.

Sanguinaria canadensis plants are found growing in moist to dry woods and thickets, often on flood plains and near shores or streams on slopes, they grow less frequently in clearings and meadows or on dunes, and are rarely found in disturbed sites. Deer will feed on the plants in early spring.

Bloodroot is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.

Sanguinaria canadensis is cultivated as an ornamental plant. The double flowering forms are prized by gardeners for their large showy white flowers, which are produced very early in the gardening season. Bloodroot flower petals are shed within a day or two of pollination so the flower display is short lived. The double forms bloom much longer than the normal forms, the double flowers are made up of stamens that have been changed into petal looking like parts, making pollination more difficult."

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Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 2, 2016 2:14 AM

Unlike most spring ephemerals, bloodroot doesn't necessarily lose its leaves right after the seed ripens. It can keep its leaves pretty far into summer if the roots don't dry out. The longer the leaves collect sun and create food, the more flowers and offsets the roots will produce the next year. So I found out last year when I carefully watered my bloodroot whenever it started to wilt, though I don't remember exactly how long the leaves lasted. At least into July. My clump really needs to be divided now, since the leaves are overlapping.

There's a fair amount of variability in the shape of the petals. Mine are long and thin, but others are wider. This can be seen in the photos here. Strangely, the flowers with long thin petals are reminiscent of Mentzelia decapetala, an entirely unrelated biennial flower that grows in very dry soil in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions.

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Plant Events from our members
carpathiangirl On October 1, 2020 Obtained plant
from Jen
foraygardengirl On April 16, 2016 Bloomed
Catmint20906 On April 6, 2015 Bloomed
Chillybean On October 15, 2015 Obtained plant
Put in ground on north side of house.
MrsBinWY On July 21, 2019 Potted up
3 on 7-21-2019
MrsBinWY On May 31, 2019 Transplanted
1 by stone bench on right/west side on 5-31-2020 (didn't see it emerge in 2021 but still hopeful)
MrsBinWY On April 28, 2019 Seeds germinated
One seedling from the jug that was warm, moist stratification followed by cold, moist stratification.
MrsBinWY On June 22, 2018 Seeds sown
2 different milk jugs, each w/54-55 fresh seeds from NHJenDion's 2018 garden. One to the back patio to mimic the seasons (warm stratification, followed by cold stratification). One to the fridge for C(60-90), W(60-90), germinate cold. Not sure starting with cold stratification makes sense. Prairie Moon recommends it, though, so I'll try it. 10-22-18: Moved the fridged container to room temperature. 1-22-19: Put the container outside.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
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recalcitrant and semi-recalcitrant* seeds by Leftwood Dec 3, 2019 6:57 AM 19
What's Blooming - Photos and Chat. by NJBob Oct 20, 2021 10:41 AM 5,016

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