Sanguinaria canadensis L.

blood-root

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Blood-root is an attractive spring ephemeral, traditionally used in cough remedies. But it has been characterized as unsafe by the United States Food and Drug Administration because of the presence of the toxic alkaloid sanguinarine. It is frequently used in Native American herbal medicine, for treating ailments ranging from coughs to ulcers, and even in love charms.

Habitat

Floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests, talus and rocky slopes, woodlands

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • pink to red
  • white
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
13 or more
Stem nodes swollen
the stem is not swollen at the nodes
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length
35–60 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    NA
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower diameter
    20–50 mm
    Flower number
    1–3
    Flower petal color
    • pink to red
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Interior flower disk
    the flower does not have an interior disc
    Length of peduncle
    50–150 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    2
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are seven or more petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • pink to red
    • white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud are crumpled erratically
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal length
    15–30 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal nectaries
    the petals do not have nectaries
    Petal number
    6–12
    Petal shape
    • the petal outline is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    • the petal outline is oblong (rectangular, but with rounded ends)
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Petal width
    5–9 mm
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal cilia
    the sepals do not have cilia
    Sepal color
    green to brown
    Sepal length
    10 mm
    Sepal number
    2
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    the sepal outline is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen number
    13 or more
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Style length
    Up to 3 mm
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    the capsule splits by two main valves, teeth or pores
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    35–60 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    NA
    Fruit locules
    one
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is another shape than those described
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    5–10 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    NA
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits are not hairy
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has parietal placentation, where ovules develop on the wall or slight outgrowths of the wall forming broken partitions within a compound ovary
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Seed length
    2–3 mm
    Seed surface
    • the seed has tubercles on it (swellings or projections of a different color or texture than the seed)
    • the seed is smooth or without clear markings
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
    Sap color
    the sap is some other color
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bract texture
    NA
    Floral bracts
    the flower does not have bracts
    Flower bract length
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    there is a noticeable powdery or waxy bloom on the underside of the leaf
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has lobes, or it has both teeth and lobes
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    • the leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is coriaceous (has a firm, leathery texture)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade width
    Up to 250 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    NA
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base clasps the stem or sheathes the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    Up to 150 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the leaf has lobes that radiate from the base, somewhat like a hand
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    the lower leaves are larger, toothier, and/or on longer stalks than the upper leaves
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
    • talus or rocky slopes
    • woodlands
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    the flowering stem has no leaves above the base
    Length of hairs between stem nodes
    0 mm
    Plant height
    40–60 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    NA
    Stem nodes swollen
    the stem is not swollen at the nodes
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem roughness between nodes
    NA
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Rhode Island
rare (S-rank: S2), concern (code: C)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Sanguinaria canadensis var. rotundifolia (Greene) Fedde

Family

Papaveraceae

Genus

Sanguinaria

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