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Sanguinaria canadensis

Sanguinaria canadensis L.

Sanguinaria canadensis L. var. rotundifolia (Greene) Fedde

Bloodroot

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderPapaveralesA group that includes buttercups and other poisonous plants
FamilyPapaveraceaePoppy family
GenusSanguinariaMeans “a plant that stanches blood”
Speciescanadensis“Of or referring to Canada”

About plant names...

Bloodroot is native to eastern North America. It is named for its bright orange roots, which branch and spread to form large colonies. An yellow-orange dye is made from the roots.

Identification: Plants are 4½-16" (12-40 cm) high. Usually they have a single leaf up to 4½" (12 cm) across, with multiple rounded lobes. They are bumpy on the upper surface, and the undersides are pale bluish green, with large raised veins. Young plants flower while the leaf is still tightly furled around the flower stem, like a sheath, even though the leaf is on its own stem. Flowers are white with a yellow center, with 8-15 petals, 6-10" (15-25 cm) above the ground, appearing from March to May. (Some cultivated varieties have doubled flowers, one right on top of the other.) The petals are variable, sometimes fairly narrow and sharp-tipped; others wider and more rounded. Fruits are shaped like a miniature cone or ear of corn, about ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) long.

Medical: The reddish root sap is poisonous, producing a burning sensation on the tongue. By some accounts it is harmful to the skin. Native peoples used the root sap to treat rheumatism, asthma, fevers, bronchial ailments, and skin conditions. The sap was sometimes used as a face and body paint. The Ponca tribe believed it to be a kind of love potion as well. After applying some sap to their hand, they contrived to hold the hand of a maiden they wished to marry, and after a few days, she would do so. Today’s applications are more prosaic: an bloodroot alkaloid called sanguinarine is used in mouthwash and toothpaste as a plaque inhibitor. We don’t recommend that you use it for anything, though, since the FDA considers it “unsafe.”

Online References:

Sanguinaria canadensis at Illinois Wildflowers

Sanguinaria canadensis on Missouriplants.com

Sanguinaria canadensis at 2bnTheWild.com

Sanguinaria canadensis on Wikipedia

Sanguinaria canadensis on the USDA Plants Database

Sanguinaria canadensis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Sanguinaria canadensis at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Sanguinaria canadensis on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Sanguinaria canadensis on eFloras

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/15/1979 · Memphis, TN · By Tim Chandler

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/20/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd, Phoenix, MD
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 16 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/19/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Cockeysville, MD
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 21 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/24/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 7 × 6" (19 × 15 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/24/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (15 × 19 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/30/2013 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 5 × 5" (13 × 12 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

5/3/2014 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/20/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd, Phoenix, MD
≈ 8 × 7" (20 × 16 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

Pink form. · 3/19/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Cockeysville, MD
≈ 2½ × 3" (6.5 × 8.4 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/22/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 8.7 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

3/20/2012 · Gunpowder Falls State Park, Phoenix Rd, Phoenix, MD
≈ 3 × 3" (8.5 × 8.2 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/23/2016 · Big Tree/Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, MA

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

7/7/2017 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/23/2016 · Big Tree/Porcupine Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, MA

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

7/7/2017 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/28/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/30/2013 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 10 × 9" (25 × 21 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/22/2016 · Wildflower Trail, Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 3½ × 3½" (8.9 × 8.9 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

5/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 10 × 8" (26 × 19 cm)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

4/22/2015 · Beaver Brook Conservation Area, Hollis, NH
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 10 cm)

Range:

About this map...