Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot, miskwijiibik)

Bloodroot flower

Zone: 3 to 8

Soil: sand to loam

Light: Part shade to full shade

Bloom colour: White and yellow

Bloom period: May

Height: 1 foot

Moisture: Medium

Attracts: Bees

Notes: It is one of the most beautiful native plants growing in Ontario, yet it is rare to find this plant in a garden. Bloodroot is native to the eastern half of the United States and Canada. It emerges quite early and is one of the first plants to bloom. The large white flowers with yellow centres will brighten up your garden and the 2 week blooming period will seem all too brief. The flowers, which only produce pollen, will attract spring bees such as Osmia and Andrena.

The large and fleshy leaves are distinctive and will continue to provide additional interest after flowering. The plant is ephemeral and in nature the leaves disappear by mid summer; however, if you provide regular watering, the foliage in your garden may remain visible until the end of August. Each year, a few more leaves grow and the patch will get bigger and more spectacular.

Bloodroot is of limited use to most bees who come to investigate and find no nectar. The species of Andrena who come for the pollen are the most effective pollinators. The plant saves energy by not producing the nectar, but even with a lack of competition from other flowers, pollination is not guaranteed. Self-pollination may occur in areas where bees are not present. The seeds have elaiosomes, which are rich energy rewards. Ants will therefore distribute the seeds.

If you are setting up a woodland garden, then bloodroot should be made a highlight with regular repeated patches at the front of the bed. It is best to plant it in an area with reasonable drainage where it can get a little bit of sunshine before the trees leaf out. If you put Bloodroot in your garden, it is inevitable that you will fall in love with this plant and look forward to the flowers every spring.


Flower of a bloodroot
A flower goes with each Bloodroot leaf
Bloodroot in flower
Bloodroot flowers
With each leaf comes a flower; the flowers bloom before the leaves are fully open.