*This is fresh seed (not dried) to ensure viability and has been rinsed daily since harvest to leech germination inhibitors, and should be planted as soon as possible upon receipt. Due to delicate nature this seed, it will automatically ship USPS Priority Mail on Monday-Wednesdays only to ensure speedy receipt.
One must note that the rhizome of Sanguinaria canadensis, a flower whose family refers to the Latin word for bleeding, sanguinarius, can have fatal effects if consumed. Common names include ‘Red Puccoon’ and ‘Indian Paint,’ a reference to its traditional use as a war paint by Indigenous peoples (though likely cut with another ingredient, as this juice can be a skin irritant upon contact). While there are potential medicinal uses of Sanguinaria canadensis (including as an ingredient in toothpaste), one should stray from working with the plant in this context due to its high toxicity. Traditionally, bachelors of the Ponca and Algonquin tribes would rub bloodroot on their hands to bring upon amorous feelings while courting women.
As its name suggests, the root of this plant has a rich red-orange pigmentation and sap, once used by many Native peoples throughout North America as a dye for baskets, wool, and clothing. Bloodroot can be used to tint in shades of pink, orange, and red. The Ojibwa people utilized this to dye porcupine quills for ornament, while the Cherokee and Merskwaki tribes colored red the fibers used to weave baskets or mats. One can combine Bloodroot with other dye plants for varied pigmentation— traditionally, the Illinois people enhanced its crimson using sumac berries, and the Chippewa made a dark yellow dye mixing this root with that of wild American plum. Early on in the colonization of the region now known as the US, Native tribes taught settlers how to formulate this dye, amongst many others.
The flowers of Bloodroot close in the night or on overcast days when pollinators are not so active. Certain bees, flies, and beetles are attracted to their pollen, though these blossoms do not produce nectar. Petals fall within a day or two of pollination. Their seeds are especially attractive to ants, who feed a fleshy surrounding organ called an elaisome to their larvae, and deposit the remaining seed to their debris pile, where they may bloom again. In this we see the nurturing relationship bloodroot has cultivated with the natural beings alongside them.
Bloodroot is a spring ephemeral, a tender understory plant that emerges in early spring before trees can shade the forest floor with foliage. Their grey-green leaves emerge with the quality of a shrouded figure, which once unfurled reveal a beautiful white bloom. The curled forms hold a sort of reverence, and hail the return of growth at the close of winter’s bite.