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Bloodroot In Flower

One of our earliest spring ephemerals, Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), a member of the Poppy family, greets the longer, warming days by having its short-lived flower emerge from within its protective leaf and spread its white petals wide open on sunny days. (The flower only opens on days when the temperature reaches 46 degrees, as that’s when pollinators are active.)

To encourage cross-pollination, when the flower opens it is in the female stage, relying on pollinators covered in pollen to land and drop pollen to the receptive stigma. Within a few hours of opening the stamens begin to release pollen. The flower will open for up to three days or until cross-pollination has occurred. Once pollination has taken place the flower begins to drop its petals.

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5 responses

  1. Alice

    That is an exquisite photo. What a find. I love how the red-tinged veined leaves protectively envelope and seem to caress the flower. Always so glad I follow your blog, Mary, to enjoy and learn so much.

    April 13, 2021 at 8:23 am

  2. Yes to everything Alice just said. I love seeing these blossoms wide open in the leaf litter. And what a brilliant adaptation, to hold off on opening till it’s warm enough for pollinators to be active. Reading the fascinating facts you share adds so much to my appreciation of what I’m seeing out there in nature’s realm!

    April 13, 2021 at 8:57 am

  3. Yes, to the above, and how amazing that the plant can tell when it has been pollinated by another flower’s pollen. So smart!

    April 13, 2021 at 9:31 am

  4. Kate Schubart

    By sheer coincidence bloodroot figured in one of today’s informational articles on Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bloodroot?slot_pos=article_5&utm_source=Sailthru%20Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=authoritynutrition&utm_content=2021-04-13&apid=33727012&rvid=81cbf9f32ae5373ca47c7c4663da351c1a4bfc4a16ab089be0086fba95a28c33
    I thought they were rather equivocal on the subject but perhaps they were trying to go delicately in speaking to those who admire naturopath ‘medicine.’ Main point is that though there are claims for medical benefits they aren’t substantiated by scientifically based research.

    April 13, 2021 at 3:58 pm

  5. Leslie English

    Dear Mary Holland
    Finding woodland ephemerals is a precious April goal, but I never was early enough to see the beautiful leaf wrapped so tightly about the blossom! Now I know why the petals fall so quickly. But the leaf is just as much a gift.
    Here, near New Paltz NY, trailing arbutus & hepatica have been blooming for a week.
    Your posts are the high point of the week.
    You might enjoy a wonderful book I am reading buy a British naturalist: Wildwood by Roger Deakin.
    Be well,
    Leslie

    April 14, 2021 at 7:45 am

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