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Wisconsin Plant of the Week

Sanguinaria canadensis L.

Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Common Name:

bloodroot

05/03/1999

Bloodroot is a native perennial that grows from a thick rhizome that sends up  a solitary white flower followed by a solitary leaf. Plants grow in rich woodland soil and are seldom taller than 15 cm.

It blooms in early spring before the trees leaf out. Flowers are white, 2 to 5 cm wide, with 8 to 12 petals.  Usually 4 petals are longer than the others, so the flower appears square from above (as in the upper right corner).  Petals drop soon after the flowers open and many seeds form in a capsule.

Bloodroot leaves are round in outline but palmately lobed with a coarse dull surface.

The roots have a clear red-orange juice characteristic of  the family

  • Origin of the Name: Sanguinaria, L. sanguis, blood; -aria, pertaining to; canadensis, Canadian
  • Range:  Nova Scotia to Manitoba, s. to FL, OK
  • WI Range:  Statewide
  • Common associates: Sugar maple, white ash, trout lily
  • Wetland Indicator Status: FACU-
  • Coefficient of Conservatism: C = 6 (S&W), C = 5 (MI))
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