Spring Flowers from the Woods

©2012 Donna H. Chiarelli

Bloodroot (white flowers) and Muscari  (purple flowers, also known as Grape Hyacinth)

We went for a mountain bike ride last week. It was good to be in the woods again. And wonderful to see new spring plants popping out of the ground. Most interesting is the Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. It may also be called Indian Paint or Red Root. This plant with pretty white flowers appears from Nova Scotia to Florida and blooms from March to May. You’ll see it coming up thru the fallen leaves in shaded moist woodland areas. It is an endangered plant and should not be harvested in the wild.

Bloodroot has an unusual way to reproduce itself. It uses ants. The seeds have a fleshy part that attracts ants, who then take the seeds back to their nests. They eat this enticing outer part, and the remainder of the seed gets into their nest debris. This is the perfect place to hang out safe and fertilized until spring when they germinate. This process is called myrmecochory.

Native Americans used the root of Bloodroot as a respiratory aid, and also a body paint. There is a story that a young man would paint his palm red and try to shake hands with a girl of his choosing. In about a week she would want to marry him, according to the charm.

© 2012 Donna H. Chiarelli

~ by dutchghetto on March 24, 2012.

2 Responses to “Spring Flowers from the Woods”

  1. such beautiful pictures, such pretty flowers, and so interesting to learn about them

  2. My husband and I just saw bloodroot flowers on the side of the road and were wondering about the name. We suspected the root contained some sort of dye – now we know. I love the delicacy of wildflowers and their sensitivity to micro-habitats.

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