Bloodroot is a charming woodland plant, native to deciduous forests of North America. Each plant produces one white flower in the spring that emerges along with a single leaf. The blooms open with the sunlight and close at night. Once blooming is completed, more leaves will emerge. The leaves have a beautiful lobed shape and will continue to be produced until about mid-summer when the plant goes dormant for the season.
One of the most interesting things about the bloodroot plant is its red sap that is the source of its common name “bloodroot”. The blood-red sap is found throughout the plant but is most concentrated in the roots. It can be used as a dye for baskets or fabrics and has a long history of medicinal uses by indigenous people and early colonists. However, bloodroot should be handled with caution as all of the plant’s parts contain sanguinarine, an alkaloid that can cause illness or death if ingested, and can cause significant skin damage if applied topically. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), salves and creams that contain bloodroot are dangerous and are not approved by the FDA to treat or cure any skin condition, including skin cancer.
Beautiful in shady borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas. Can be grown near black walnut trees. A slow spreader, plant in groups for most striking display.