Wildflower Wednesday–March 2013

I’m ecstatic to show you the first BIG triumph in the woodland garden—the reestablishment of bloodroot in an area once overgrown with English ivy. Though a neighboring property has extensive colonies of bloodroot growing on moist banks above the Reedy River, my ivy-infested garden did not.

Luckily, I was able to purchase several 4-inch pots of bloodroot at the 2012 autumn plant sale of the Upstate Chapter of the South Carolina Native Plant Society. Discovering these same plants in bloom this spring has given me as much satisfaction as any previous gardening success.

What a joy to welcome Sanguinaria canadensis back to the garden!

What a joy to welcome Sanguinaria canadensis back to the garden!

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) can be found throughout the Eastern seaboard from Nova Scotia to Florida. A member of the poppy family, it is a low-growing perennial herb that sprouts from a thick rhizome. Up to a dozen buds can be produced on a mature rhizome, with each bud generating a single leaf and a single flower. When cut, rhizomes exude an orange-red juice, which accounts for the plant’s common name.

Native Americans used the juice as a dye and body paint, and as a traditional medicine to treat fever, rheumatism, and skin infections. Today, bloodroot is still valued for antiseptic and anti-inflammatory uses and is also being studied as an anti-cancer agent.

Until recently, almost all bloodroot was harvested from the wild. Thankfully, rising prices have made cultivation more worthwhile so nursery sources are now on the increase.

If you crave more wildflowers, visit Gail at Clay and Limestone, the host of Wildflower Wednesday.

18 thoughts on “Wildflower Wednesday–March 2013

  1. Will

    Well, that certainly is worth a celebration!

    … as you document the making of your new garden, will you recount your methods for removing the English Ivy? Truly a daunting prospect you faced, I think.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Will–don’t get me started on English ivy! I could write a book! We’ve been (mostly) cutting and pulling for the 2 and half years we’ve been here. We’ve also sprayed a few areas where it couldn’t been avoided and even solarized some spots. The situation is much better this spring but I’m still after it in some of the more difficult areas.

  2. Eliza @ Appalachian Feet

    Congratulations! I have an ongoing battle with my neighbor’s English ivy, too. We seem to trade it back and forth (some years they have time to eradicate it, some years I do… it never coincides). I’d much rather look at some non-bullying spring ephemerals!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Eliza–I cringe everytime I see ivy at a nursery but people still buy and plant it. I hear the Oconee bells are blooming, but I haven’t had a chance to get up to Devils Fork yet. Maybe I can grow those here someday.

  3. entwinedlife

    Ants spread the seed, before you know it they will be charmingly here & there! I have doubles, but have not seen them this year… When I do, I shall tag one for you Marian,

  4. gail

    Marian, Your header photo is gorgeous! Congrats on the return of the native(s). Isn’t it wonderful. I was thrilled to see trout lilies in my garden where I removed the monstrous vinca! Happy WW.


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