Showing posts from May, 2016

Sanguinaria canadensis

In the Great Lakes area, spring is always a very exciting time of the year. Our winters are long, and spotting blossoms amongst the brown and dead foliage of the previous season is always a delight!

One of my favorite native spring ephemerals is bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). It usually makes an appearance towards mid-April through May, depending on weather conditions. The flower immerges first while the leaf remains curled around the stem. As the flower fades, the leaf starts to unfurl and appears palm-like. Once it is finished flowering, the oblong-shaped seed pod remains.

The name bloodroot originates from the root which contains a red liquid. This red "juice" contains the alkaloid sanguinarine, among other constituents, and is toxic if taken internally. However if applied externally, sanguinarine has been successful in abating viral conditions of the skin such as warts, skin tags and even certain types of skin cancers (however not medically documented).

There are many…