Bloodroot is my favorite native North Carolina plant, that is next to the Elderberry. I mean, just look at this picture - isn't it so heroic, oddly shaped and cute? Bloodroot is usually found growing deep in the woods under big shady trees- anytime I have seen the sun touch them the leaves burn and die.
"Bloodroot is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris."
Now that is freaking awesome! In wikipedia it warns that the sap is toxic and can disfigure skin over time - but I read a statement by Dr. Andrew Weil that he used it to remove moles and it would separate the mole tissue from the live tissue and then heal cleaner then a surgical cut. (To read more about that theory get his "Spontaneous Healing" book... it's a cool book for anyone faced with an incurable disease.) Either way, I am in love with bloodroot - for it's beautiful shape, cool history of native american use, it's controversy and it's actually native!
Viva la native gardening! YAY!