Bloodroot is typically found in the eastern parts of the United States and Canada. They typically live in colonies in wooded areas where the ground has steep slope, or on reasonably flat areas. Bloodroot requires soil pH to be slightly acidic, needs a moist environment, and needs partial to full shade. This is why wooded areas are ideal for bloodroot to grow in. Because of where it lives, many other organisms inhabit the same area as bloodroot. Examples include black bear, whitetail deer, snakes, grey squirrels, frogs, horseflies, dragonflies, birds, willow trees , maple tress, grasshoppers and many others.

Bloodroot is a perennial that stands about 15 cm tall as it is flowering, and 50 cm at maturity. It produces basal leaves, which are wrapped around the stalk of the flower. Each plant only produces one flower that is white or sometimes pink (though rare), and the anthers are bright yellow. As it continues to flower, the leaves also continue to grow. When the flower starts to bloom, the sepals surrounding the flower fall off. Bloodroot typically blooms during March and April, making it one of the earliest to do so, and only lasts about two weeks. However, each flower is only in bloom for one or two days. Each flower contains 8 to 12 pedals on it and flower as a whole has bilateral symmetry. Bloodroot is hermaphroditic meaning it contains both male and female organs, giving it the ability to self-pollinate or cross-pollinate.

The rhizome is what gives Bloodroots its name because of its knotted, blood red appearance. It doesn’t grow very deep into the ground, but grows about four inches long and produces colonies. A red-orange juice is found inside the rhizome and stem that contains alkaloids, most commonly the toxin sanguinarine. The highest concentrations of this are however found in the rhizome. The alkaloid levels are found to be higher right after bloom, but bloodroot isn’t harvested until fall, so that there is time for the seeds to be dispersed.




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