by Jane Scully
10" high, 1 ½" across
A fragile, solitary white flower with a golden-orange center that rises from its curled basal leaf, lovely in itself. Bloodroot opens in full sun and closes at night. Its flowers have 8 to 10 petals with golden stamens; its leaves are bluish-green, scalloped, and between 4 and 7 inches long.
The name of this shining white beauty comes from the acrid red-orange juice in its stem and roots. The juice was used by Indians as a dye for baskets, clothing and war paint, as well as for insect repellent. The genus name is Sanguinaria canadensis, from the Latin sanguinarius meaning "bleeding."
Look for this short-lived flower during April in rich woodlands and along streams in Fairfax County. Check out our Nature Finder for best park places to find bloodroot.