The single bloodroot leaf and flower each rise on a separate stem, and at first the leaf completely enwraps the flowerbud. The clear, white, many-petaled blossom may open before the leaf has completely unwrapped, rising slightly above the leaf to a height of 6-10 in. Leaves, which are large, round and deeply cleft, eventually reach a height of 12-14 in. On a smooth stalk a solitary whiteflower, with a golden-orange center, grows beside a lobed basal leaf that often curls around the stalk. Roots and stem contain red-orange juice, hence the name “bloodroot”.
This fragile spring flower develops and rises from the center of its curled leaf, opening in full sun, and closing at night. Like most members of the Poppy Family, it lasts for a relatively short time. The red juice from the underground stem was used by Indians as a dye for baskets, clothing, and war paint, as well as for insect repellent. The generic name, from the Latin sanguinarius, means bleeding.
The pollen of the flowers attracts various kinds of bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, little carpenter bees, Halictid bees, and Andrenid bees. Other insects that visit the flowers include flies and beetles, which feed on the pollen. An aphid, Linosiphon sanguinarium, sucks plant juices from the leaf undersides. The seeds of Bloodroot are distributed by ants because of their fleshy appendages. The foliage and rhizomes contain an acrid reddish juice and they are toxic. Consequently, this plant is not often eaten by mammalian herbivores, although White-Tailed Deer browse sparingly on the succulent leaves.
Information from: www.wildflower.org and www.illinoiswildflowers.info
- First Flower: Date the first flowers are fully open. When open, you will see the stamens among the unfolded petals.
- Full Flower: Date when half or more of the flowers are completely open
- First Ripe Fruit: Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. Ripening is indicated by the berries turning red, yellow, orange, or maroon.
- Full Fruiting: Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.
- All Leaves Withered: Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season, have lost green color or are dried and dead.
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