Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis, Papaveraceae) is one of many plants known as a spring ephemeral. Spurred into action by increasing day length in early spring, these plants complete their life cycles in just a few weeks. By the time deciduous trees have leafed out in May, these plants have already gone to seed.
A native of eastern North American woodlands, bloodroot gets its name from the red sap stored in its rhizomes. These underground perennating organs store carbohydrates and water that fuel the above-ground growth. Rhizomes can spread out over an area and give rise to colonies of plants. Because of this, plants are often found clustered together.