Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Bloodroot Flowers

bloodroot information from Appalachia

Bloodroot is a common spring wildflower found in the Southern Highlands of Appalachia. It grows in dark moist areas of the forest. Bloodroot is small, the flowers typically grow no higher than 6 or 7 inches high.

The white daisy like blooms stand out against the greens and browns of early spring.

bloodroot-wildflower

I first fell in love with Bloodroot shortly after The Deer Hunter and I were married. From the start I’ve had a hard time deciding if I liked the blooms better or the green lobed leaves that grow bigger and bigger after the blooms are gone. Over the years I’ve noticed the wild plant progresses in an amazing way. In the beginning you see the little white heads poking their way through the ground.

Seemingly overnight the flowers open wide with their leaves hugged up close to them.

The blooms are pretty, but they don’t last long. One day they’re there the next it’s like a small creature came along and picked each white petal off individually, laying them underneath the leaves leaving only the pointy stamen behind to show where the flower grew.

The lobed leaves grow even larger after the blooms fall away. But by mid summer there isn’t a trace of Bloodroot left, it all dies back to sleep till Spring awakens it again.

Bloodroot_juice_2

Bloodroot gets it’s name from the red liquid found in it’s roots and stems. Bloodroot is an ingredient mentioned in old Appalachian medicinal remedies as well as used in modern herbal medicines. However, Bloodroot is one of those medicinal plants you must be careful with, used in the wrong way it can cause more damage than good and can even be deadly. Native Americans used Bloodroot for medicinal purposes as well as dye and paint.

I’ve never used Bloodroot for any of the things mentioned above, but I look forward to it’s beauty each year, marveling as it’s petals fall off and it’s leaves open wide in welcome of Spring.

Tipper

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Becky
    April 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Pretty little flower. I haven’t seen any of those around here either. Makes me miss the mountains even more. Maybe I need to take a trip back home for a “fix”. tee hee

  • Reply
    wkf
    April 14, 2010 at 8:05 am

    So the other day I read this post about Blood root and thought , hmm how interesting. Then 2 hours later I was helping a lady in the the local feed store and she started talking about her Draft horse having Squamous cell carcinoma( cancer).
    We were talking about his therapy when, she mentioned her Vet was using an alternative therapy. Blood root. I was floored. Then at a horse show this weekend ran into a woman with a pony I hadn’t seen in years , he also had squamous cell around his eyes and was using bloodroot as well(same vet). The lady with the draft horse was using it topically and the lady with the pony was using it topically and feeding it. So now i have a google project. I always learn something here. Thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    MissFiFi
    April 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    So happy to see what they look like. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tipper
    April 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Kelli-we don’t have them around my area-at least not that I’m aware of-I sure wish we did.Though I’d have to have someone teach me how to find them and gather them. I think I could handle the rest : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Tipper
    April 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Elizabeth-I’m not sure what the correct name for the plant you described is-but I’ve always heard it called snow on the mountain. And you’re right-in the right conditions it has the tendency to take over.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Tipper
    April 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Miss Cindy-the only information I have-comes from a book-one of the Foxfire books. But it doesn’t really tell you how to harvest the bloodroot or prepare it. Hopefully someone else out there has the answer?
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    April 11, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Tipper: That is just beautiful.

  • Reply
    Lanny
    April 11, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Very interesting. Old herbal remedies are always very intesting.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 10, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Another beautiful story, Tipper; and interesting and informative.
    It’s interesting that the petals are different and the leaves are different in some of the pictures. Up here the flowers are smaller, maybe the plants themselves are somewhat smaller. Maybe there are several different varieties, I don’t know. Anyway, thank you for your articles, so enjoyable and natural each time that we come to take your genius for granted.

  • Reply
    Farmchick
    April 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t think I have ever noticed these flowers in the woods and I was just out hiking around the farm with my son this afternoon. I will have to pay more attention! I love your information.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Such pretty pure-looking flowers! We are fortunate to have them growing along our road so I can keep an eye on them.

  • Reply
    Janera
    April 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    perfect timing! My students and I were just making a list of the herbs mentioned in our novel today, and bloodroot is one of them!

  • Reply
    Jenny-Jenny
    April 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    This is my favorite place to learn about nature. What a pretty little flower!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Ahhhhaaa…..the mysterious Bloodroot…you have to be quick to see these blooming in the woods…unless you’re lucky enough to have a few in the back yard bank….I’m like you I love the leaves as much as the flower and when I decide I might go and pick a few to press….they are gone until next year…
    Another of my favorite woodland leaves it the Little Brown Jug plant (pretty common)…and it will stay around with at least a leaf or two thru the winter tho a bronze color by then…the root beer smell is wonderful don’t you think…?
    Some it is known to as Wild Ginger! Not the same but same family!…I am trying to teach my little city grandchildren the few things I have learned thru the years about our native wildflowers…LOL

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I also look forward to the Bloodroot flowers, telling me spring has arrived. They have just started ‘showing off’ in my woods, a few here and a few there and before I know it they will be everywhere.

  • Reply
    betsyfromtennessee
    April 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the info about Bloodroot. I have seen these little flowers all of my life—but didn’t know much about them… It’s interesting how they got their name. Don’t think I would take a chance and use any of that liquid as medicine…..
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  • Reply
    Osagebluffquilter
    April 9, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Once again, you have told me what I have growing in my back yard.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    Janet
    April 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Beautiful flowers! It’s a shame nature’s beauty can’t last longer. But when one goes away it is always replaced by another for us to admire.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Tipper, I did have some Bloodroot growing here but I haven seen it in the last couple of years. I friend transplanted some Bloodroot and some Mayapple here. The Mayapple is growing and spreading but the Blood root is gone.
    I have never used the Bloodroot medicinally but I would be willing to if I had some good, meaning safe, instructions.
    Do you know anyone who has used it?

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Thank you for sharing this little beauty! I’d not heard of it before.

  • Reply
    QuilterBear
    April 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I’ve never seen these flowers but I so wish I would come across some! They are most interesting. Thanks for sharing those descriptive photos and explanations!
    I live in the “Heart of the Appalachian Mountains”, or so the area touts… southern part, I guess, in southwestern VA.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 9, 2010 at 10:26 am

    What is the other plant in the picture? The one that has a lighter color along the outer edge of the leaf? I have that stuff all over my flower beds and I can’t get rid of it!

  • Reply
    Paula
    April 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Such a beautiful little flower. I agree with you that those leaves are intriguing as well. I’ve heard of Bloodroot being used medicinally, but have not seen it until now. Thanks for sharing the natural beauty around you.

  • Reply
    Kelli
    April 9, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I see the leaves all over the place, but have never seen the bloom. I’ve always wanted to learn how to use it. Thanks for the links. It’s time to start looking for dry land fish again here. Ya’ll have those?

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    April 9, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull WIke, Ph.D.
    April 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Hey: You are ‘hitting’ on some of my favorite wildflowers! I have lots of blood root and it thrives right out in my sunny gardens as well as the shady areas. I’ll bet you know about Oconee Bells (Shortia glacifolice)! My brother-in-law gave me Oconee Bells THREE times from over in the VILLAGE in Cherokee But they would NOT grow for me. So I gave up! The Bells have been decribed as the ‘bravest’ and most rare little flowers in the mountains! The best display of these EARLY spring treasures can be seen at the Devil’s Fork State Park in SC!
    Cheers, Eva Nell

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