Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Sanguinaria canadensis L.
Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)
Synonym(s): Sanguinaria canadensis var. rotundifolia
USDA Symbol: SACA13
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The single bloodroot leaf and flower each rise on a separate stem, and at first the leaf completely enwraps the flower bud. 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 12-24 in. On a smooth stalk a solitary white flower, with a golden-orange center, grows beside a lobed basal leaf that often curls around the stalk. Roots and stem with acrid red-orange juice.
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 Native Americans as a dye for baskets, clothing, and war paint, as well as for insect repellent. The generic name, from the Latin sanguinarius, means "bleeding."
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: E. Que. to Man., s. to FL, AL & TX
Native Habitat: Rich, deciduous, upland & floodplain woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Moist to mesic, well-drained, humus-rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Bloodroots spread rapidly and make an excellent ground cover. Mulch the plants with a thin layer of deciduous leaves during the winter. Effective as groundcover around the base of trees, seeds dispersed by ants.
BenefitUse Other: The red juice from the underground stem was used by Native Americans as a dye for baskets, clothing, and war paint, as well as for insect repellent. (Niering)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Rhizome (thickened roots). May be fatal if ingested! Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, faintness, dizziness, dilated pupils, fainting, diarrhea, heart failure. Toxic Principle: Isoquinoline alkaloids.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: The most reliable method of propagation is by seed. Plant seeds immediately after collection as they must not be allowed to dry out. Propagate by rhizome division in either fall or early spring. (Wear gloves and wash your hands after handling the roots
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: Early to mid-Jun. Seeds ripen apporximately four weeks after the plant has flowered. Storage must be brief and the seeds must not be allowed to dry out.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Alternative names for Aquilegia Sanguinaria
May 03, 2006
I am looking for the common name for a flower called Aquilegia Sanguinaria. Can you help? Does this even exist?
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Sanguinaria canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Sanguinaria canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Sanguinaria canadensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff