Dateline: August 23, 2013*
The redroot is in full blooming swing and the arthropods are showing their appreciation with their mass flocking to this pollinator magnet.
Carolina redroot (Lachnanthes caroliana) is a member of the Bloodwort family and an indicator of wetlands. Native to the coastal areas of the eastern US, in the northeast it is listed as threatened and endangered in much of the area, which may account for the fact that I wasn’t aware of this beauty until I got to Florida.
The sword-shaped leaves remind me of iris and I remember when I first got out here to my property I patiently waited for the “irises” to bloom. I was a little perplexed as the inflorescence began to unfold.
They can be quite stately some reaching heights of three foot. They look fabulous as a mass planting that they can achieve on their own as they spread by rhizomes as well as seed.
Tolerant and appreciative of flooding, they also stand up to drought so if you find some, might be a great addition to a rain garden.
The seeds are a favorite of Sandhill Cranes, a threatened species here in Florida and the roots are sort after by feral hogs, who have been known to destroy areas to satisfy their cravings.
The common name is based on the use of the roots as a dye that, when I experimented, produced an interesting tan leaning towards light rootbeer coloring. Subtle and pretty.
Perhaps, in the traditional sense, not the showiest of flowers…that is until they attract all that wildlife.
*This tale was originally published by Loret T. Setters on August 23, 2013 at the defunct national blog beautifulwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments.