May 10, 2011

Bloodroot, Marsh Marigolds

Beau & I were out doing our daily field study on native wildflowers today.  I absolutely love the bloodroot blooms.  In the past few days they've been popping up so abundantly, today I felt it ok to pick just one, to learn more about it. (Normally - I don't pick wildflowers, but feel strongly about leaving them be. They have a struggle to survivie & reproduce with all the invasive non-native plants, and with humans disturbing their habitat. Often they cannot reproduce if you pick them.)
Well, I learned why it's called bloodroot - it covered my hand in dark red/orange fluid-like sap. Interesting.
So we made it back to the house to conduct research on our findings, and I read this:
"Bloodroot produces the toxin sanguinarine. Sanguinarine kills animal cells by blocking the action of Na+/K+-ATPase transmembrane proteins. As a result, applying bloodroot to the skin may destroy tissue and lead to the formation of a large scab, called an eschar. Bloodroot and its extracts are thus considered escharotic."

So far my skin is just fine. :)
Our very first found wild blooms of spring:  Bloodroot.  May 4, 5, 6.
Very abundant a week later:   It is my wish to have a full-body mud suit some day.  I have to lay down in woods, brush, marsh & mud  to take these photos.  I make a mess of myself.

 In other news, a few of the Marsh Marigolds (also native) have bloomed!  May 9,10.
They're so bright & cheery, one of my early spring favorites.  
Soon our woods & wetlands, & ditches will be filled with them. 

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