Another sign of spring has shown itself in my little woodland. It is the plant known as Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and is native throughout the temperate regions of the United States east of the Mississippi. It was first found in Canada, hence it’s Latin species name.
The genus name Sanguinaria, comes from the Latin sanguis meaning ‘
The species is hermaphrodite which means it has both male and female reproductive organs. It grows in rich, light sandy and medium loam well-drained soil.
When the Bloodroot emerges in early spring, “the stem, leaf, and bud all come up together. The bud is protected by the leaf, which is carefully wrapped around what will become the delicate flower.
The blossoms have no nectar, but the large petals and brightly colored centers attract insect pollinators. Bloodroot is typically pollinated by bees, which transfer its pollen to other flowers. Ants then disperse the mature seeds. A large distribution of Bloodroot within a localized area is indicative of the work of one ant colony, which has been gathering and storing seeds for many years.
If the plant blossoms too early in spring when it is still cold, bees will not be available to assist in pollination. Instead, Bloodroot will eject pollen from its sacs in an effort to hit the stigma of another plant. Like many ephemerals, Bloodroot is able to produce seed independent of insect assistance.” (St Olaf College)