Sanguinaria canadensis Papaveraceae

Other names

Red Puccoon

Growth habit




Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, Labrador to MI, South to GA, IN and IL


A 6" tall ephemeral with white flowers and lobed blue-green leaves.
Light: part shade
Moisture and Soil: neutral to limey soil


Seed Treatment and Storage: Keep seed moist. Needs warm then cold then warm moist stratification. Can take 2 years to germinate

Biocultural value

Many Native American groups, including the Meskwaki, Haudenosaunee, and Omaha, used bloodroot as a dye. The roots also served medicinal purposes as an emetic, gastrointestinal aid, tuberculosis remedy and dermatological treatment for cuts, sores, and poison ivy.

The statements above were sourced from:

Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.BRIT Native American Ethnobotany

Wildlife value

Mining bees (Andrena spp.) collect pollen from bloodroot's nectarless flowers and serve as plant's primary pollinators. Sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.) also collect bloodroot pollen. When pollinators are absent, the flowers will self-pollinate near the third day of flowering. The plant is a larval host for the southern armyworm (Spodoptera eridania) and the tufted apple bud moth (Platynota idaeusalis). Ants collect and disperse the dark brown seeds, which have a lipid-rich elaiosome. An aphid (Linosiphon sanguinarium) sucks plant juices from the underside of bloodroot leaves, but most mammalian herbivores avoid the acrid foliage.

Climate change sensitivity

Over the period from 1986 to 2015, Sanguinaria canadensis bloomed an average of 11.3 days earlier.



Poisonous description

Bloodroot is poisonous to both livestock and humans in large doses. Alkaloids are found throughout the plant that affect the nervous system. Ingestion causes vomiting and potentially a fatal coma in those that overdose.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Coy Glen, Edwards Lake Cliffs Preserve, Fischer Old-growth Forest, McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp, McLean Bogs, Eames Bog

Source of plant

Andre Viette Farm & Nursery, Companion Plants


Leaves basal, palmately lobed, to 12" across. Flowers white, sometimes tinged with pink, to 1 1/2" across, solitary, on scapes about 8" high. Capsule to 1" long.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

flowering season, medicinal/pharmaceutical, other ethnobotanical uses. Bloodroot contains a bright red sap with antiseptic properties. For many years it was used in commercially produced toothpaste.