Sanguinaria canadensis

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sanguinaria (san-gwin-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: canadensis (ka-na-DEN-sis) (Info)
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Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage



Other details:

This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama

Pelham, Alabama

Seale, Alabama

Mena, Arkansas

Baywood-los Osos, California

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

Harwinton, Connecticut

Jacksonville, Florida

Miccosukee Cpo, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Tunnel Hill, Georgia

Galena, Illinois

Machesney Park, Illinois

Urbana, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Ewing, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Brookeville, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Ellicott City, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Belchertown, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Hinsdale, Massachusetts

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Midland, Michigan

Novi, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

University Center, Michigan

Blue Earth, Minnesota

Cambridge, Minnesota

Isle, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)

New Prague, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Marietta, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Holden, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri (2 reports)

Sedalia, Missouri

Litchfield, New Hampshire

Baldwinsville, New York

Brooklyn, New York

Buffalo, New York

Holmes, New York

Nineveh, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Greenville, North Carolina

Kinston, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Weaverville, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Youngstown, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Greenville, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Dickson, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Arlington, Virginia

Blacksburg, Virginia

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Honaker, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Port Townsend, Washington

Pullman, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Welch, West Virginia

Belmont, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Onalaska, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 1, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I've found this to be an easy native perennial in deciduous shade. A neighbor who has them growing in sun and highly disturbed city soil and considers them a weed. They don't mind heavy silt soil. In the wild I usually see them in forested bottom land, well-drained moist areas near water.

The striking flowers are notoriously transitory---flowering season is usually less than a week. There are forms available in the trade with double flowers, and also forms whose flowers are pale pink.

Unlike most of our native spring-flowering woodland perennials, the large distinctive blue-green leaves are not ephemeral, but remain an attractive garden feature through the summer.

Best transplanted or divided in fall. Seeds lose viability quickly and should be s... read more


On Aug 22, 2015, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Provide this storied medicinal plant with a fertile soil in a well-mulched area that stays moist and gets dappled shade to shade, and it will grow without complaint. Rhizomes are easily transplanted. Unusual shaped foliage is attractive. Striking, albeit short-lived spring flowers are striking.


On Apr 23, 2012, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Has anyone seen deer or rabbits eating this plant? One website says deer willl feed on the plants in early spring. Another says, "The foliage and rhizomes contain an acrid reddish juice and are toxic. Consequently, this plant is not often eaten by mammalian herbivores."

Native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia, Canada southward to Florida, United States, and west to Great Lakes and down the Mississippi embayment. Grow in moist to dry woods and thickets, often on flood plains and near shores or streams on slopes. They grow less frequently in clearings and meadows or on dunes, and are rarely foun... read more


On Apr 30, 2011, woodland_karen from Kinston, NC wrote:

Not all sources are from the wild for this plant. We moved into our woodland home a year ago and I first became acquainted with this plant soon after. This year they are doing even better than last, possibly due to more rain and less privet shading everything out.

Although most accounts indicate the mountains for this plant, I am very much in the coastal plain with a large number of these plants. By sharing roots, plants and seeds, I am not "taking" from the wild. There is about as much danger of these becoming scarce on the property as my being able to eradicate the awful privet - and I can assist by helping to repopulate other areas.


On Mar 10, 2011, mountainman72 from Broomfield, CO wrote:

We should not be taking whole plants or "specimens" from the wild! Rather, we should only collect seeds and sow them in the fall or spring. (If a plant reproduces by division and not by seed, then find a source online.) Shame on you for being part of the reason we see less wildflowers every year. That same plant could have continued producing hundreds of seeds for years to come ensuring its survival in its natural habitat. Your plant isn't doing well because it's probably homesick!!!! Ugh.


On Apr 25, 2009, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I had transplanted a wild specimen from a spot in my yard to a protected area (to avoid the lawn mower) and although it flowers consistently every year, it propagates ever so slowly. I finally have what looks like two plants this year. This is after about five or so years after transplanting the original one.

It's in an area where it gets dappled light filtered through the trees and the soil is consistently cool, moist and rich. Much like where I found the original plant. I've yet to locate any other wild specimens.


On Nov 22, 2008, Ficurinia from Portland, OR wrote:

It is not like me to dislike a plant, especially one that is a native and in need of protection and care, but this plant does not work in city gardens even if you do have a rather large back yard. It spread "like wild fire" and was difficult to dig up once settled. The bloody roots were interesting at first, but when we started to dig it up, I discovered how much the plant bothered my skin. This may be an unusual reaction though because I have a poor immune system.

If we had a much larger garden I would probably plant this again though. The leaves and blooms are pretty, just make sure it has lots and lots of space.


On Nov 22, 2008, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

These lovely little flowers are such a welcome sight each spring. I find the foliage quite interesting too.


On May 31, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Last year, a knowledgeable botanist, Dr. James Duke (The Green Pharmacy), who lives nearby, told me that bloodroot is becoming rare in parts of Maryland where it should be thriving instead. The exact cause is unknown.

Additionally, to paraphrase & quote Norman C. Deno (Seed Germination Theory and Practice), even though seed sown in July developed 2" radicles, the seedlings "ultimately" died. Seedlings germinated with other techniques also died.

I am wondering whether there is any link between the above experiences of Drs. Duke and Deno. One thing that comes to mind is that I have read that many native woodland wildflowers are declining in America because of the effect of an invasive species of exotic earthworm on the woodland humus in which they need to g... read more


On Nov 18, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Always a welcomed sight to see in Spring!


On Feb 22, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant actually seems to prefer the areas where they get the most light, while staying in woodland shade. I have a nice sized colony on a upland area that gets morning sun for a few hours in early spring before trees leaves out.

Updated information: They can be rather errantic, seedling themselves in unpreditable locations and entire colonies can just crash after thriving one year for some unknown reason. I have one come up and thrive in a crack between my grandma's house and the patio.


On Jan 31, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

In consistently moist conditions, Bloodroot will form dense colonies which are beautiful when the plant is in bloom.


On Apr 22, 2005, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a short, herbaceous perennial grown for it's blossoms in Spring. pokerboy.


On Sep 24, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is the only species of the genus Sanguinaria. This plant is generally somewhat rare. It is known from areas that have been little disturbed usually on hills and mountains. A blood red juice can be extracted from the reddish orange root, actually a rhizome, hence the name Bloodroot. It has been used medicinally in the past, although it can be so toxic (even in small doses) that the FDA warns against using it as an herbal healer. It has also been used as a fabric dye.


On Mar 18, 2004, Tiarella from Tunnel Hill, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

The buds of bloodroot can be purple, yellow, white, or many shades of pink though all open to white flowers.

Bloodroot is a carefree plant that multiplies in size quickly and provides a nice carpet of white flowers in early spring. Blooms at the same time as toothwort, hepatica, wood poppies, and common purple yard violets. Can be planted around ferns (or hosta) with Virginia Bluebells to provide early season interest before the ferns (hosta) break ground.


On Aug 5, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is native to eastern North America in woodlands. It is an herb, used for dyes. Use caution when disturbing the plant; it exudes an orange-red sap that is very long-lasting and difficult to remove from skin and clothing. Leaves of the wild species vary considerably in shape, color and diameter.

The flowers appear on short (2-3") stems in late winter/early spring and are very short-lived; they are very attractive to the few butterflies which are present at that time. Petals only open on sunny days, which helps preserve them a little longer: each flower usually only lasts 2-3 days. The leaf is present on the stalk under the flower as it opens, as the leaf unfolds the stalk elongates to 12-15" tall.

The seedpods ripen slowly, and when seeds are ri... read more