Sunday, March 22, 2009


In the space of a day it seemed like, the Bloodroot burst from the ground at my house! I have not found any yet at the park, but I haven't really had a chance to look in too many areas. You have to enjoy the bloodroot flowers while they're up - they don't bloom for long, although the leaves last well in to spring. The leaves have deep notches around the edges, and in my opinion are just as interesting as the flowers. Bloodroot is named for the reddish sap that oozes from the roots. It was used historically for medicinal purposes, but the sap can cause severe skin lesions and can even be lethal if too much is taken internally. The seeds of bloodroot are adapted to be spread by ants. The seeds have a fleshy area called an elaiosome. The sole purpose of the elaiosome is to entice ants into carrying the seed back to their nest, where they eat the fleshy treat, but leave the rest of the seed undamaged, and now buried in a nice fertilized ant mound, ready to grow. How awesome is that! The process of seeds being spread by ants is known as myrmecochory.

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