Veterinary Medicine Library

Bloodroot or Red Puccoon (Sanguinaria canadensis L.)

| Description | Distribution | Conditions of poisoning | Control | Toxic principle | Clinical signs | References


Bloodroot

Description

Bloodroot is a low, glabrous, stemless perennial herb. It has extensively branched rhizomes, and each growing tip produces a flower stem and a leaf. The flower appears from March to May, rolled in a single leaf. The white flower has 8-12 oblong petals and numerous golden yellow stamens. The flower is initially taller than the leaf, but as it turns to fruit, the leaf unfolds and flattens to shade the fruit. The root has reddish-orange sap.

Bloodroot in Bloom Bloodroot after Flowering
With flowers After flowering

Distribution

Bloodroot grows throughout the mid to eastern states of the U.S. east of the Mississippi and from southern Canada to the northern half of Louisiana and Georgia. It is found in most counties of Illinois in moist but well-drained woodland soil.


Conditions of poisoning

All parts of the plant are poisonous but the toxins are most highly concentrated in the root after leaves are completely open. The active alkaloid levels vary greatly between regions as well as populations.


Toxic Principle

The red-colored latex from this plant contains several alkaloids similar to those found in the Opium Poppy, and include sanguinarine, chelerythrine, protopine, and homochelidonine, as well as resins.


Other References:

Blood root entry in Wikipedia


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