Sanguinaria canadensis is perennial summer green herb, (Hicks and Chabot 1985), slowly colonial from stout rhizomes, roots associated with VA mycorrhizas (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988); sap orange-red.
Leaves emerge after flowers, about 6 lobed, pale green, 20-40cm at maturity, stem from center; a summer green herb, leaves live 20 weeks (Hicks and Chabot 1985).
Flowers white, 2-5 cm wide, 8-12 petals, stamens yellow, no nectar production, bee or self-pollinated (autogamous), (Lyon 1992); most visits by honey bees, bombyliid flies also some other bees and a syrphid fly (Schemske et al. 1978; Motten 1986); March-April.
Fruit a capsule, 3-5 cm long, seeds with fatty attachments (elaiosomes), ant dispersed; ants probably including genera: Aphaenogaster (A. rudis), Myrmica, Formica and Lasius (Beattie & Culver 1981; Handel et al. 1981).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Interiors of undisturbed forests. Requires at least 0.2% sunlight in order to survive (compensation point), but cannot use more than 5.0% full sunlight (saturation point) (Hicks and Chabot 1985).
Notes: Dispersal to and establishment in new sites in successional forest, contiguous to old regrowth stands has been calculated at a rate of 1.60 m/yr. (Matlack 1994).