Photo Credit: Melanie Foose
On Friday I saw my first Bloodroot of the season and I just love Bloodroot! One of our very first native wildflowers, it is a simply lovely flower with milky white petals, and is a delightful sight blooming alongside other spring wildflowers, known as spring ephemerals, such as Hepatica and Trout Lily, under a forested canopy of newly budding trees.
This is a flower that my daughter would gently lift towards her face for a closer look, proclaiming, “Mommy! Look at this special flower!” in her sweet six year old voice. Taking children out in the early spring to look for wildflowers, salamanders and frogs or simply taking a walk in the woods is one of those moments to treasure.
And Bloodroot is a fascinating plant to learn about, no matter what your age. The blooms are temperamental, only opening when they feel the rays of the sun, while the scalloped leaves of the plant are wrapped around the stem like a blanket. The common name is in reference to the orange-red sap in the stem and leaves of the plant which were used by Native Americans to make a dye to color baskets or even their skin. However, one must be careful as the alkaloids in the plant can be harmful and although Native Americans also used it for many medicinal purposes, it is not plant that should be ingested.
I hope you enjoy the shortlived blooms of this plant as much as I do, but be sure to enjoy them now, because the flowers will only bloom for a day or two, and then in just a few weeks the entire plant will have disappeared from the woods, not to be seen again until next spring.