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Bloodroot A Fair-weather Friend

bloodroot in rain 336Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), utilizes contrasting white (petals) and yellow (pollen-bearing stamens) colors to attract insects and achieve pollination. The blossoms have no nectar, only pollen, and in order to protect the pollen, the petals of this member of the Poppy family close on overcast days and nights, a time when most pollinators are inactive. The reopening of the flowers depends on temperature and cloud cover. If it’s sunny out, the flowers will open when the temperature reaches 47°F. Native bees, which are Bloodroot’s main pollinators, don’t usually fly until it is 55°F., so flies, capable of flying at slightly lower temperatures, do most of the cool weather pollinating.

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7 responses

  1. Dwight Baldwin

    Please add my name to your “mailing list”. A friend sent me your blog describing the bloodroot (which is blooming now here in Durham, NH at our home – a double flower) and I find your posting most interesting and well done.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  2. I love the raindrops – those textured leaves are so beautiful. I am amazed to think that someone actually studied the plant to conclude that the flowers open at 47 degrees! I love researchers!

    May 6, 2014 at 1:30 am

    • Me, too, Eliza. What took someone probably years to discover I was able to learn in 5 minutes of reading about their research. It’s even more fun discovering things for yourself, but you’d have to live for several centuries to accumulate the knowledge you glean from books!

      May 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm

  3. Jean Harrison


    May 6, 2014 at 7:47 am

  4. I was wondering – do the leaves that wrap around the bud & stem protect it from the cold, like the hairs on the stems of the Hepatica do?

    May 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    • Yes, the leaf protects the bud and delicate pink flower stalk from wind and in so doing conserves warmth.

      May 7, 2014 at 12:04 am

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