An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions/Haemodoraceae

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Family 26.   Haemodoràceae   R. Br.   Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holi. 1: 299.   1810.
Bloodwort Family.

Perennial herbs with erect stems, narrowly linear leaves, and regular or somewhat irregular small perfect flowers in terminal cymose panicles.  Perianth 6-parted or 6-lobed, adnate to the ovary, persistent.  Stamens 3, opposite the 3 inner perianth-segments.  Ovary wholly or partly interior, 3-celled or rarely 1-celled; ovules usually few in each cavity, half-anatropous; style mostly slender; stigma small, entire or 3-grooved.  Fruit a loculicidally 3-valved capsule.  Seeds few or rarely numerous; embryo small in fleshy endosperm.

About 9 genera and 35 species, mostly natives of South Africa and Australia, a few in tropical America; only the following genus in the north temperate zone.

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A rather stout herb, with a short rootstock, red fibrous roots and equitant leaves, the basal ones longer than those of the stem.  Flowers numerous, yellowish, small, in a dense terminal woolly cymose panicle.  Perianth 6-parted to the summit of the ovary, the outer segments smaller than the inner.  Filaments filiform, longer than the perianth; anthers linear-oblong, versatile.  Ovary 3-celled; ovules few in each cavity, borne on fleshy placentae; style very slender, declined.  Capsule enclosed by the withering-persistent perianth, nearly globular, 3-valved.  Seeds about 6 in each cavity, flattened, nearly orbicular, peltate.  [Greek, referring to the round fruit.]

A monotypic genus of southeastern North America and the West Indies.

1.  Gyrotheca tinctòria  (Walt.) Salisb.
Red root.   Paint root.   Fig. 1319.
BB-1319 Gyrotheca tinctoria.png

Gyrotheca tinctoria Salisb. Trans. Hort. Soc. 1: 327.  1812.

Lachnanthes tinctoria Ell. Bot. S. C. & Ga. 1: 47.  1816.

Gyrotheca capitata Morong. Bull. Torr. Club 20: 472.  1893.  Not Anonymo capitata Walt.

Stem 1½°-2½° tall, glabrous below, pubescent or woolly above.  Leaves 2″-5″ wide, acuminate, the basal ones shorter than the stem, the upper reduced to bracts; panicle 2′-5′ broad when expanded, dense and almost capitate when young, white-woolly; flowers 4″-5″ broad, bracteolate, the perianth yellow and glabrous within; style about as long as the stamens; pedicels stout, about as long as the capsule, rather shorter than the bractlets; capsule about 3″ in diameter.

In swamps, eastern Massachusetts to New Jersey and Florida, mostly in pine barrens near the coast.  Also in Cuba.  Carolina or Indian redroot.