Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

Ok let’s break down to some serious plant geekage here. Not all will be able to appreciate this argument but for those who do. Kudos.

Are Sanguinaria & Jeffersonia related to each-other?

Last year having noticed two spring ephemerals emerge & flower at the same time I combined them into the same pot for further research. Watching these two pop up this spring it’s remarkable how similar they are in habit, growth and flowering. The nomenclature  has them listed as different genus’s but are they actually the same?

sanguinaria canadensis
Jeffersonia diphylla emerging March 10th

Sanguinaria canadensis emerging March 10th

Let’s look at the facts. (care of wikipedia) for the proper breakdown of the family bloodline.

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Jeffersonia


Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Sanguinaria

Admittedly once their leaves mature they’re distinctly different, but the new shoots & flowers are so similar I don’t know what to make of it. I’m not exactly a scientist but there has to be something to these distinct similarities. It’s like looking at brothers in a family portrait.

sanguinaria canadensis flowers
Sanguinaria canadensis

Jeffersonia diphylla flower
Jeffersonia diphylla

When you see the buds of these plants emerge be sure to pay attention as they last little more than a couple days. As if sitting there only by good grace, a single raindrop or brush of your hand and off come the petals, blinked and missed until next year.

Spring ephemeral
spring ephemeral

What do you think?

3 Responses to Strange simularities between sanguinaria & jeffersonia

  • Jamus says:

    Don’t think for a moment that there aren’t errors in the nomenclature! It is work in progress and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that you should discover a misclassification. However, the closer to the embryo you are the more similar species are likely to appear! Consider mammalian embryology! Look it up and be amazed…
    Of course it’s only a matter of time before DNA sequencing technology is so cheap and efficient that all species will be sequenced and more accurate classification can be made. Watch the sparks fly as traditional botany is turned on its head! I look forward to that!
    Fantastic blog my friend. You’re a man after my own heart with more time and a more conducive climate! I hope to communicate with you soon and swap notes. I suspect I could learn a lot from you.

  • James Hays says:

    Just came across your site, looking for information about my ailing Gartenmeister. Think I need to repot, it’s not happy, but the soil may be too rich with Steer Manure. Think I’ll try it inside this year, not in my Sun Room, where it gets too cold.

    Amazed at your Bristlecone post (trust these Canucks to see something I’ve not discovered in my own “back yard”), as I’m in Seattle, but have never visited that area. I’m jealous. Kudos!

    We have similar gardens, though you are definitely more adventurous. You DO love Cacti!

  • Tom says:

    It’s all in the stamens. I just had this same exact discussion with someone at work because I refused to believe they’re in different families!

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.