When does this bloom?
Where does this bloom?
85.6, 191-193, 198.7, 294
The Bloodroot, or Sanguinaria canadensis, is a perennial, flowering plant native to eastern North America.It can be found as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida. Bloodroot is also known as Bloodwort, Red Puccoon Root, or Pauson.
Bloodroot can grow from 20 to 50 cm tall and normally has one large multi-lobed leaf up to 12 cm across. The flowers of this plant typically bloom from March to May. There are usually 8-12 delicate white petals with yellow reproductive parts. These flowers appear over clasping leaves while blooming.
Bloodroot plants can vary in leaf and flower shape. Different subspecies have been created to categorize these shapes but currently most taxonomic treatments lump these different forms into one highly variable species.
Bloodroot produces a morphine-like akaloid, primarily called sanguinarine. Sanguinarine is a toxin that kills animal cells and as a result, applying bloodroot to the skin may destroy tissue and lead to the formation of a large scab. These scabs are also known as eschars making Bloodroot and its extract considered escharotic. In spite of historical use by Native Americans as an emetic, internal use is inadvisable.
Escharotic agents, including bloodroot, have been used (but are not recommended) as a home treatment for skin cancer. Applying this toxin to the skin will leave large scabs and can be severely disfiguring. The salve derived from bloodroot cannot be relied upon to entirely remove a malignant tumor. Microscopic tumor deposits most likely will remain after the visible tumor tissue has burned away. Case reports have shown that in such instances tumors have recurred and/or metastasized.
This plant was historically used by the native population as a dye and herbal remedy . A break in the surface of the plant, especially the roots, reveals a reddish sap. This sap from the Bloodwort plant has been applied as a wart remedy in the past. However, this plant does contain dangerous toxins and should be avoided if possible. See Toxicity below.