Bloodroot, and double bloodroot, are plants with reddish rhizomes that have an orange sap. The sap color is the genus name Sanguinaria from the Latin – sanguinarius which means ‘bloody.’ “The red juice from the underground stem was used by Native Americans as a dye for baskets, clothing, and war paint, as well as for insect repellent.” Others do use the sap medicinally, but I am not one of them! Actually, I don’t think this happens any more. I include these plants in my garden because the are so beautiful and encouraging early in the spring. They usually bloom in April and into May in my garden. It is just a delight to have such welcoming plants early in the spring. Check out the Wisconsin Horticulture Extension.
Sanguisorba canadensis, otherwise known as American Burnet is a very different plant. Even so if you take the word sanguisorba apart you get Sangui for red blood and Sorba defined as to staunch.
Sanguisorba canadensis, American Burnet, is a native plant, with whitish spikes instead of flowers. Even so, the spikes/flowers do attract pollinators. I have been very happy with this plant because because it does not mind a swamp. I won’t say our garden is a constant swamp, but our raised beds sometimes allow more water onto the bed that we like.
Sanguisorba is a handsome plant through the summer. I am happy to say that in the USA records, this is listed as rare.
I’m very glad that Sanguinaria and Sanguinsorba are both so happy in our wet garden.