Bloodroot in Woodlands, Madison Wisconsin

Bloodroot in Woodlands © 2011 Bo Mackison

Though finding flowers in bloom has been a bit of a challenge in Wisconsin this spring, I found several stands of bloodroot in the woodland area of the Allen Centennial Gardens at the university of Wisconsin in Madison. It’s name has nothing to do with “blood” — the sap of the flower is a bright red color, similar to the color of blood. The sap has been used as a dye by Native Americans.

Though it is typically found in the cooler, eastern regions of the United States and Canada, it can be found as far south and west as Texas. It is a common ephemeral flower in the woods of Wisconsin, blooming before the trees leaf out and block the sunlight from reaching the forest floor.


I am back in Wisconsin after spending the first part of 2011 in Arizona, and beginning to see hints of a late arriving Spring as she quietly tiptoes into Wisconsin.



About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Awesome shot Bo, I never seem to be able to capture bloodroot in its best state, you did well with these !!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      When you say ephemeral, you’re talking bloodroot! They are sure quick to pop and quick to drop. Thanks, Bernie.

  2. That’s an excellent shot of a very pretty flower! It’s one we don’t have here. It reminds me slightly of Queen’s Cup.

  3. Nazan Gillie says:

    Hi Bo!

    I was admiring these little modest flowers yesterday, during our walk in Owen Park. The leaves are like the little capes that the stem wears. They are so cute! Very nice!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yes, little capes. Imagine all the woodland fairies laughing at our thoughts, laughing because we discovered one of their secrets! 🙂

  4. I often misss these gems (get out too late in the spring). I’ll have to pay attention pretty soon in my neck of the woods.

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