The genus, Sanguinaria, comes from sanguinary, adj.- bloody, savage, cruel. I've read that the white petals symbolize the purity of Jesus, and the "blood" exuding from the bruised roots or stems, represents the crucifixion. How poignant for Good Friday, and this coming Easter, which is about the time the Bloodroots usually rise here in Michigan.
I've always loved this short-lived, delicate wildflower, and take frequent walks to see its progress; blessed to have it growing at the edge of our Oak woods.
A petal actually fell as I was photographing another cluster. Look at how this next one is so tightly wrapped, that it's hugging itself!
In the following photo, notice the deeply textured network of leaf veins; prominent, and sometimes reddish-orange.
So, I'm reading the Botanical description of this Bloodroot, in my Michigan Wildflowers, by Helen V. Smith. (Smith) I've been using it since 1974, (yes, I'm older than most of you) and it was published in 1961 and 1966, from the Cranbrook Institute of Science, right nearby in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Then my love returned for those unique, sometimes poetic Botanical terms. I recalled my long ago days with friends from Peninsula Writers, (Peninsula Writers) and how they enjoyed what they called: Found Poetry. We met each June, just after school was out, up at a Glen Lake resort. So I'm going to attempt to condense a page of details, and compile them into one, sort of poem, Botanically speaking. Right after this last photo.
Flowers white and solitary,
lasting a very short time.
Capsule slenderly ellipsoid.
Leaves enfolding the flower stem,
expanding and overtopping capsules.
Veins prominent and orange-red.
Flowers susceptible to weather changes;
opening in sunshine, closing when cloudy.
The rootstock is very acrid and poisonous. Indians used the juice for dyeing textiles, quills, and cane baskets. They also made a face paint and medicines from it.
Bloodroot -Sanguinaria canadensis
Photo Locations: Home Woods - Kent County, Michigan
Click on photos to enlarge.