Friday, April 18, 2008

Double Bloodroot...Don't Even Ask!

The double bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex) is a lovely thing; when first unfolding, it always makes me think of an elegant waterlily. The plants sold in general commerce all come from one plant found, according to an account in Linc and Laura Foster's classic book Cuttings From A Rock Garden , in the spring of 1917 in a woods in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. von Webern who had purchased the woods and found the double bloodroot, fortunately sent out a couple of the plants; the original colony apparently eventually died out, but he had sent one plant to the Montreal Botanical Garden, which in turn distributed it into commerce. A few other double flowered bloodroot plants have since been found; in the southeast and perhaps in New England, as well as a pink flowered single. I don't know if any of the other doubles found have had as many extra petals as Mr. von Webern's plant. The doubles are very expensive, because they don't set seed so must (slowly) be propagated vegetatively. However, the $75 price I see charged by a certain well-known nursery is ridiculous.
Various garden visitors here are bold enough to ask for "a piece" of some pretty scarce plants. More often than not, I'll get out a trowel; if ever I turn them down it's usually only when I know they'll kill the plant before the day is done. However, if somebody asked me to pot them up one or two of the double bloodroots, I'd laugh, and I'd laugh...

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Beautiful flower and interesting story!
White blooms don't normally excite me, but you've posted many this spring that are quite exquisite. including this one.
I finally got 3 of them this spring from Seneca Hills for a very reasonable price. I'd wanted them for a long time. Here's hoping they all survive (& thrive).
Hi Don,

Your garden looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous. You note that "visitors to your garden" does one become a visitor to your garden when passing through Iowa City?

Chey and Nancy.. it's amazing how close it was that this plant was lost... only the single plant sent to Montreal survived, and all our double snowdrops came from that.

MMD... yes, her price is nice, and her plants do well for me.

Betty... one e-mails me at and tells me to chill the beer!
Is there a best time of year to transplant the single bloodroot? I have a thriving colony of them in my backyard, and want to share some with a friend - but I don't want to kill them in the process by doing it at the wrong time!
One of these days, I'm going to ask for a visit! :-)
Shady... let me know. May is nice.
Alright! Sometime in May! (I'm excited!) :-)
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