September 19, 2017

Ephemeral Spring

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

Sanguinaria canadensis is a North American native that comes and goes quickly, with the fragrant flowers lasting no more than two days and its bloom time about two weeks in early to midspring. Known as bloodroot for its reddish rhizome and juice, this low-growing perennial in the poppy family can be found in woodlands. The flowers require sunlight to open, making it a perfect match to a deciduous forest since it can tolerate a good deal of shade after it blossoms. Each flower stalk is typically wrapped in its own leaf, which unfurls as the flower blooms. After the blossom is spent, the leaf keeps growing, only to die back in the summer when the plant goes dormant. Once established, S. canadensis can form large colonies.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.