Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bluets, Beauties and Bloodroot – oh my!

As someone that lives in a semi-rural area, I delight in finding native plants popping up in defiance of attempts by humans to landscape over them.  I have heard stories of trilliums popping up in lawns (and people asking how to get rid of them!) and seen many a tree sprout in an ill-chosen location.  This week I came upon a couple of my favorites – bluets (Houstonia caerulea) and springbeauties (Claytonia virginica) growing in suburban lawns.

Claytonia virginica
Houstonia caerulea

I would not say that the owners of these lawns considered these plants “weeds” but I guarantee you that they certainly don’t realize they are native spring wildflowers for which some people pay good money!  The bluets are tiny blue flowers with even tinier leaves.  They are growing in the outer edge of a lawn in my neighborhood that uses no chemicals (yay!).  

The springbeauties are in the lawn of the local library; they have created an amazing colony on one side of the building.  I’m sure the slender foliage of this plant is easily overlooked in a lawn.  Both wildflowers live for only a few months in the spring before going dormant.

Carpet of springbeauties at the library

It makes me smile to find these charming natives in such unexpected places in my everyday life.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)  is also blooming this week, and I have a chance to see a whole bunch of it. I am babysitting several hundred pots of it for the Georgia Native Plant Society. It was rescued from a suburban backyard that was undergoing a renovation – the homeowners didn’t even realize what they had: the largest, thickest mass of bloodroot that any of us had ever seen in one place.  But they graciously allowed us to rescue the part in the path of the renovation so that we can sell it in our spring plant sale.  We also helped them dig up and save a bunch of it for themselves so it can be replanted after construction.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
With spring approaching quickly, I hope that you are finding some of our special Georgia wildflowers in your area.  Where you find them just might surprise you.


  1. Delightful photos & wonderful that beauty survives in these unlikely places..A very hopeful post!

  2. Gorgeous! Hoping to see some wildflowers soon here in Virginia!

  3. I love when plants pop up in unexpected places! I am currently enrolled in the Certificate in Native Plants at SBG and just came across your blog on blotanical. It is always great to connect with fellow Georgia gardeners.

  4. Lovely photos; I especially like the carpet of Spring Beauties; I've not been able to capture the "carpet" so well in a photo. I love the tiny Bluets that are showing up now. I believe that's Houstonia pusilla.

  5. You're right, it is possible that is H. pusilla.

  6. Well I'm officially jealous that you're enjoying all of these in flower. I have at least a month to go :( How wonderful it must be to see that many spring beauties flowering at once!

  7. I have bluets as well, but I think it's a different species. I love the little guys. I know about bloodroot from my University days in Nacogdoches, Texas. It was the first to pop up each Spring out in the forest. Nice post. :0) David

  8. Great posts! I'm seeing many of the same things around my house and on hikes here. It's sad when people apply herbicides to get rid of the only kind of lawn ornament I really love. Why wouldn't people want blooms among the green? Makes no sense!