Little caped crusaders!

I always find these little spring-time surprises so endearing.  To my eyes they look like miniature flashers, or super heroes!  They are, in fact, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), a woodland ephemeral that appears throughout eastern North America, and extends as far south as Mexico.   It’s name refers to the blood-like secretion that comes from its roots and fleshy stems (hence, ‘sanguin-aria’).

It always boasts pristine white blooms, with single or double rows of petals with bright yellow stamens, and its round lobed leaves all but disappear in the heat of the summer.  If you place them in a shaded and moist part of your garden, make sure you remember where they are when you’re planting narcissus or digging in the area in the autumn.  The fact that you’ve skewered these dormant beauties is bad enough without having their blood-like juices dribble onto your tools!

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