My photographic journey with this flower has been an interesting one. Despite the long hours I spend in the woods and my quest for wildflowers to photograph, I’d never seen these beauties except in the photographs of others. A photographer acquaintance of mine even refused to disclose the location of the flowers a couple years ago, so I fruitlessly looked for them since. Recently another photographer acquaintance posted a few shots and I said I was jealous. He did share the location and I was overwhelmed with the sight of literally blankets of them covering the ground –
As I turned 360 degrees it was all like this – a carpet of bloodroot so dense I could hardly walk through it without crushing them underfoot. I must have looked hilarious while I carefully craned my neck to look for a safe foothold among the flowers.
Which, unfortunately, weren’t blooming. Like the hepatica, I think this is going to take a couple of trips to get what I want. Still, even furled these flowers are intriguing. Each one comes up from the earth wrapped in its own leaf. Like little capes, they stay wrapped around each tender blossom. It’s named for the color of the sap that flows if you cut the stem or root – a deep, rusty orange. American Indians used it as body paint and to treat fevers, sore throats and rheumatism. Strangely, it has also been used (with reported success) to treat some forms of skin cancers. Whatever its efficacy, it spreads via rhizomes and even grows on top of stone walls which is where I found this grouping.
I hope I find it in bloom. If the sun ever comes out again, I’ll make a return trip.