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Native American Bloodroot Mythology

Bloodroot, also known as bloodwort or Canada puccoon, is a white flower native to the eastern part of North America. "Puccoon" is one of many American plant names to have a Native American etymology: it comes from the Powhatan Indian word poughkone or pohcoons, which was recorded by early Virginia colonists as meaning "red paint" or "red dye." Both this Indian name and the English name "bloodroot" come about because of the red sap oozed by the roots of these flowers, which was used by many tribes as a dye for clothing and baskets and for face paint.

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Bloodroot has also been used by Native American people as a poison (the bloodroot plant is highly toxic) and, in small doses, as a medicine herb. In some Algonquin communities bloodroot is associated with love, and men would wear bloodroot paint when they went courting.

Native American Legends About Bloodroot

Recommended Books of Bloodroot Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Strength of the Earth: The Classic Guide to Ojibwe Uses of Native Plants:
    Book of Ojibwe traditions regarding bloodroot and other woodland and prairie plants.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American stories about plants and their meanings, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Medicinal Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of herbs throughout Native North America.



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