Until we meet again: Farewell Bloodroot

Bloodroot preparing for departure

I told you here about some of my favorite spring ephemeral wildflowers, including Bloodroot. We have a spectacular stand of them growing on a northeast-facing slope above our creek. To my delight, they were there when we moved in, and they continue to multiply annually via seeds and tubers. Each plant produces a single exquisite anemone-like white flower that only persists for a week or two at most, depending on weather.

As soon as the petals fall, the pointed seed capsules begin to swell. Today, Wonder Spouse and I noticed that most of the Bloodroots are sporting nearly mature seed capsules. To my eye, they look like little green soldiers holding their lances at attention beside them — although I admit the lances are a tad curvy.

As soon as the capsules finish ripening and open to disperse their seeds, the lobed leaves will die back, and this now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t native wildflower will be a memory until next spring.

Long-blooming flowers certainly have appeal in the garden; they make a gardener’s life easier — fewer different plants to grow to keep the show going. Still, there’s something about the transient beauty of this delicate native that always makes my heart beat faster when the flowers appear.

And — more reliable than any calendar — when the leaves vanish, I know that spring’s song is nearly done.


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