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Bloodroot or red pucoon (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a common perennial wildflower found throughout Ohio’s woods. This wildflower is one of the few native members of the poppy family (Papaveraceae). The name bloodroot refers to the reddish, blood-like liquid which oozes out when the rhizome is cut. Its generic name, Sanguinaria, is from the word sanguinarius, meaning bleeding. Native Americans used the liquid for body paint, dye and insect repellant. Bloodroot blooms from mid-March to mid-April. Each flower has eight to 14 white petals with many yellow stamens in the center. A single, deeply cut leaf surrounds the emerging flower and opens after the petals have dropped, only one or two days after blooming. Bloodroot is not a true spring ephemeral as the leaf persists well into summer. It grows in many Ohio preserves, such as Shallenberger State Nature Preserve in Fairfield County, Augusta-Anne Olsen State Nature Preserve in Huron County and Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve in Preble County.
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