Sanguinaria canadensis

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: bloodroot 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Eastern and central North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: White or pink tinged
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Black Walnut


Best grown in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sanguinaria canadensis, commonly called bloodroot, is a stemless, rhizomatous, Missouri native wildflower which blooms in early spring in rich woods and along streams throughout the State. Typically rises 6-10" tall and spreads over time in the wild to form large colonies on the forest floor. Each flower stalk typically emerges in spring wrapped by one palmate, deeply-scalloped, grayish-green, basal leaf. As the flower blooms, the leaf unfurls. Each flower stalk produces a solitary, 2" wide, 8-10 petaled, 1.5" diameter, white flower with numerous yellow center stamens. Flowers open up in sun but close at night, and are very short-lived (1-2 days). Leaves continue to grow in size after bloom (sometimes to as much as 9" across) and remain attractive until mid to late summer when the plant goes dormant. All parts of the plant exude a bright reddish-orange sap when cut, hence the common name. Sap was once used by Native Americans for dyes. Rootstock is caustic and poisonous if ingested, but has been used medicinally for its antiseptic and emetic properties.

Genus name comes from the Latin word sanguis meaning blood. All parts have copious yellowish-red sap.

Specific epithet means of Canada.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage disappears in summer as plant does dormant.


Best massed in shaded areas of woodland, wildflower, native plant or rock gardens where plants can be left alone and allowed to naturalize. Sometimes included in herb gardens because of medicinal properties.