BLOODROOT ( Sanguinaria canadensis) belongs to the Poppy family
Bloodroot plants propagate well by division, so the reason for their name is no mystery! Dig a plant up and break the root. A red liquid looking very much like blood will ooze out. They are one of the first flowers of spring. They make their way tight between a leaf, which is round, lobed, and folded in half. In the spring wind and snow they open up as soon as the sun starts shining and close back up for the night. They only last a day or two, its tender petals blowing off like snowflakes on the ground.
Indians used this plant medicinally because it contains alkaloids which scientific research has shown have antiseptic, anesthetic, and anticancer qualities. They also used the red root juice topically on warts and as make up, and, as a love charm.
If an enthusiastic gardener doesn’t propagate the plant by division, of course, the plant manages on its own, and very interestingly, indeed. Once the flowers bloom, the leaves start growing and get larger as the season progresses. Meanwhile a seed pod is formed where the flower was. It looks like a small green bean. About a month after the flower disappears, the seed pod explodes sending the seeds to the ground. Ants come rushing to the rescue! Ants are not really interested in the seed. They are simply going to carry the seed off to their underground hideout and lick off the juicy nectar on it, then discarding the seed buried under leafy mold thus planting it!
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