Bloodgood (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a long-lived rhizomatous native woodland wildflower. All plant parts exude a bright reddish-orange sap when cut, hence the common name. Indians utilized as a dye and sap is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Roots are poisonous if ingested (USDA hardiness zone 3 -9).
In very early spring white or pale pink flowers with bright yellow stamens rise 6-10 inches tall. Multiple flower stalks, containing solitary 8-10 petaled blooms, emerge wrapped around by a deeply-scalloped, grayish-green palmate leaf. Single flowers measure 2-inches across and open up in early morning and close at dusk; it lasts only a few days. Scalloped leaves, some 9 inches across, continue to grow in size after flowering is over and remain attractive through early summer when the entire clump dies back (dormant) until late next winter.
Bloodroot is best planted in a humus rich, well-drained soils in part to full shade. It also performs in 1/2 day morning sun, and in dry woodland soils (not initially, but once fully established). In early spring (late winter in the South), large pure white flowers arise atop 6-10 inch tall plants. If site location is ideal, bloodroot self-sows and forms small colonies in woodland shade.
Early fall or late winter are ideal planting times to insure that roots will establish before winter arrives. Potted plants have become more available at garden centers for those who shop for these woodland beauties early spring.
Bloodroot is not troubled by disease or pest problems provided soil is well-drained. Deer, rabbits, moles, voles, and other critters usually leave bloodgood alone. Over the past ten years bloodroot, along with other woodland perennials, have been appearing at local garden centers and specialty native plant emporiums. You should check with Barry Glick at Sunshine Farms in WV or Andrea Sessions at Sunlight Gardens in Andersonville, TN.