Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; woods
Bloom season:March - May
Plant height:6 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flower] A single flower is at the end of a naked stem growing directly from the ground. Each flower typically has 8 to 10 white petals, but double flowers sometimes occur. The petals have many parallel veins and often 4 of the petals are longer than the others. In the center is a cluster of many golden yellow-tipped stamens. A flower blooms for only a day or two before dying.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of mature leaf] Leaves are basal and lobed in 3 to 9 parts, generally round in outline, up to 5 inches long and wide with a deep indent at the base. The leaf edges are scalloped or have large rounded teeth. A leaf initially wraps around the flower stalk but opens up and reaches full size when the flower wilts, its stem elongating several inches. Leaf and flower stems both are round and smooth with a reddish tint.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a spindle-shaped capsule about 1 inch long, containing 10 to 15 seeds.


Bloodroot is one of the harbingers of spring, sometimes emerging while snow is still on the ground, and is a welcome sight after a long Minnesota winter. A red juice bleeds from broken stems, leaves and roots, and is where the common name originates.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Rice County, and Wild River State Park, Chisago County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Leslile - St Paul
on: 2009-05-22 11:29:22

Our backyard backs up to Battle Creek Park - My husband spotted 2 small but plentifully blooming spots in the park during walks and at the same time we found 6-10 volunteers growing just outside our bedroom window. A fascinating plant to watch - we are now getting the seed pods and will try to grow it. Certainly hope they come back next year.

Posted by: Fred - Le Sueur co
on: 2009-05-30 15:52:00

In a small woods on my property in Le Sueur County, there are several large patches of bloodroots that bloom each spring -- this year the first blossoms had appeared by April 17, according to my notes.

Posted by: Tara - Scott county, Savage
on: 2010-04-07 19:06:04

spotted in the back yard, hard to see because of the leaf cover, flower still closed. Tiny plant with pure white flowers and butter yellow stamens. One of the first few wildflowers to emerge to announce spring. I will have to watch it in the next few days to see the flower open.

Posted by: Pam - Stanchfield
on: 2010-05-05 02:48:25

All of our blooms were gone the last week in April.

Posted by: Kristi - Goodhue County
on: 2012-03-26 16:00:51

Bloodroot is already blooming. Saw it in the woods yesterday. A surprise for March.

Posted by: Mary - Rice Creek West Regional Trail
on: 2012-03-28 10:29:40

Many patches of blood root along the side of the trail. The leaves are still folded around the flower stem like they were hugging the flower. Very pretty.

Posted by: Sally - Ney Nature Center near Henderson, MN
on: 2012-04-01 17:11:07

Early this year! Very perky, and blooms are quite large.

Posted by: Jill - Yellow Medicine County along MN River
on: 2012-04-08 13:31:32

We have several patches growing in our yard. In addition, the ditches are full of these small, pretty flowers.

Posted by: Adam - Beaver island trails
on: 2012-04-14 17:53:15

Along the main path and the dirt path.

Posted by: connie - Tenstrike, mn
on: 2012-04-21 18:52:09

Found many patches of these flowers growing in the road dithes. The first time we've ever seen these.

Posted by: Vickie - Cosslake
on: 2012-04-24 20:54:50

finally after 2 years my transplanted ones bloomed...6 blossoms! so delicate and pretty.

Posted by: Carol - Otter Tail County
on: 2012-04-30 13:36:50

While looking for morel mushrooms in our woods, we have come across many of these beautiful little wildflowers this week! I wish we'd find as many mushrooms as there are these flowers!

Posted by: Janelle - Glendalough State Park
on: 2012-05-04 09:16:18

We found these growing in the woods in Glendalough State Park, (in Battle Lake Minnesota) on April 30th and May 1st.

Posted by: Gail - Eden Prairie
on: 2013-05-08 10:01:45

We have several small patches in our wooded, Eden Prairie back yard. I noticed the flowers on May 6.

Posted by: Suzi - Ogema Mn
on: 2013-05-24 12:05:04

We have these growing in our little woods next to the house. My mom would call them May floweres because they would always bloom in May.

Posted by: Pat - Minnetrista
on: 2013-06-29 19:28:27

Blood root has been growing in several spots on our property which has a small segment of woods. The trees are self seeded maple and elm which have all been removed now either from natural dying, dutch elm disease (we removed) or lightning which took our last tree which was about 100 feet tall and about 100-130 years old. I wasn't able to get back there this spring to see the blood root because of an injury but I have seen them every year for the 25 years we have been here.

Posted by: Kate - Carver
on: 2014-05-04 17:34:46

Spotted these flowers today for the first time. Ventured down the hill of our wooded conservation area behind our house. Sure sign of spring!

Posted by: Joe - Cannon Falls
on: 2014-05-05 10:47:53

I saw these along the Cannon Valley Trail on May 3, 2014.

Posted by: Susan - Duluth MN
on: 2014-05-18 18:38:04

Blooming in large patches along the Munger Trail today, near Jay Cooke State Park.

Posted by: John - Crosby Farm Park St. Paul
on: 2015-04-13 14:07:01

Beautiful colonies growing on the hillsides on the north side of the lake.

Posted by: Sara
on: 2015-04-14 18:19:07

Can you tell me if a flower I picked as a child in the Minnetonka, MN area that bloomed like a Bloodroot, but had white and light lavender blooms and a med. green leaf that we called "Mayflowers," is some kind of sub species of Bloodroot? I had many questions from Coloradoans when I mentioned "Mayflowers" to them. Any clarity will be appreciated! Thank you.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-04-14 20:48:07

Sara, pretty much anything that blooms in May has been called a Mayflower by someone at sometime so it could be any number of species. I don't know what you mean by "bloomed like a bloodroot", but whatever it was you remember from your childhood is unrelated to bloodroot.

Posted by: Lynette - Glenwood Minnesota
on: 2015-04-17 11:55:28

Sara- I'll bet those were Hepatica- we called them the same thing and the flower color varied from white to lavender blues and purples.

Posted by: Curt - Byron
on: 2015-04-18 21:19:30

Quite a few of these at Oxbow Park.

Posted by: Judy - SE
on: 2016-04-14 08:42:58

week of 4/11/16 - our small patch of these is blooming and has spread uphill in our wildflower patch. Along with siberian squill, bloodroots are 1st sign of spring. I am an amatuer phenologist.

Posted by: Tia - Willow River MN/Northern Pine County
on: 2016-05-01 19:56:33

Bloodroot has been blooming for the past week on our 40 acres. There's like, a gazillion of them!

Posted by: Heather - Minnetonka
on: 2016-05-02 12:50:53

We've lived in our house for 40 years and let the back yard go wild about 25 years ago. We've transplanted Trillium from our cabin back there, but no other wild flowers, they have just appeared, but for the first time we have two Bloodroot ready to bloom...a wonderful surprise.

Posted by: Lola H. - Lake County
on: 2016-05-09 13:38:44

Found some in Lake County on May 8, 2016...Mother's Day. I didn't know what it was so I came to this website and there it was, the bloodroot.

Posted by: Nancy - Minneopa State Park
on: 2016-05-23 15:03:40

We were at Minneopa State Park (near Mankato) down by the bottom of the waterfall and I saw Bloodroot, with a bud not yet open. We also saw lots of old blossoms on wild ginger and the Jack-in-the-Pulpit were blooming (on their way out).

Posted by: Kris R - St. Michael - Wright County
on: 2017-04-18 12:38:54

Found a large patch coming up in a wet field adjacent to a wooded area near Beebe Lake.

Posted by: Pat - Washington county dog park
on: 2017-04-21 17:16:58

Lots of the bloodroot in the dog park back in the wooded area. Very pretty.

Posted by: Marcia B - Grove City
on: 2017-04-22 21:21:10

Two patches on the east side of Grove Lake blooming now. I have seen these blooming every spring for many years.

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