BLOODROOT
File Size: 45 KB
 
Sanguinaria canadensis  L.
Shawnee County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 2-4.7 inches
Family: Papaveraceae - Poppy Family
Flowering Period:   March, April
Stems: Scapose; from rhizomes; sap red.
Leaves: Leaf 1, simple; petiole 1.6 to 5.5 inches; blades reniform to nearly orbiculate, 2.4 to 8 inches long, 3 to 8 inches wide, glabrous, lower surface paler, margins 3-7-lobed, sometimes also crenate.
Inflorescences: Terminal, 1(-3)-flowered.
Flowers: On leafless flowering stalk (scape) arising from ground, usually exceeding leaf; sepals 2, green, elliptic-ovate, .3 to .5 inch long, .2 to .3 inch wide; petals 6-12, unequal, white, oblanceolate or elliptic, .4 to 1.2 inch long, .2 to .5 inch wide; stamens 35-70.
Fruits: Capsules spindle-shaped, 2-valved, 1.2 to 2.4 inches long, .3 to .45 inch wide; seeds reddish brown, ovoid to subglobose, .12 to .15 inch.
Habitat: Rich, maple-basswood, oak-hickory, and floodplain forests.
Distribution: East 1/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: When broken or bruised, the rhizome yields a bright red sap. Native Americans used this latex as face paint and to decorate baskets and mats; dyed articles by boiling them in water together with the rhizomes; and used the plant medicinally to treat fevers, diarrhea, ulcers, sores, burns, coughs, croup, and poison ivy.
Comments: Bloodroot is among our first woodland wildflowers to bloom in the spring. The single leaf initially wraps around the flower buds protectively, but soon the bud shoots elongates, drops its 2 sepals, and the petals spread. The flowers close at night, reopening the following morning.

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