Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bloodroot and Dutchman's Breeches

Another spring wildflower that is a favorite of mine is Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis. Such a gorgeous flower, but it doesn't tend to stay around very long. It has a delicate white blossom with petals that are easily knocked off in a substantial rain. I love how the leaf of bloodroot curls around the base of the flower. It is a member of the Poppy Family, Papaveraceae.

And below is why it is called Bloodroot. The root when broken looks just like it is oozing blood. Native Americans would use this for ceremonial paint and to dye cloth. The chemical, sanguinaria, fights plaque and is used in some tartar-control toothpastes and mouthwashes, like Viadent.

Some of my friends might think that digging up this root was just another excuse for me to get dirty!

Another member of the Poppy family that is blooming right now is Dutchman's Breeches. The flower gets its name from the odd-looking blossoms that are arranged on a leaf-less stalk. They look like pantaloons hanging on a clothesline. The scientific name is Dicentra cucullaria. Dicentra means "two spurred" and refers to the two legs of the pantaloons and cucullaria means "hooded".

Bees will burrow down into the flower opening, at the base of the flower, trying to reach the nectar and become dusted with pollen that they will carry to the other flowers.

Hopefully you will be able to get outside soon and enjoy some of these beautiful spring wildflowers!



Chrisss said...

Great photos.

Janet Creamer said...

Thanks Chrisss, glad you enjoyed them!