Spring is a splendid time of year for many reasons and one of those reasons is spring ephemeral wildflowers. Southern Illinois is a tremendous place for spring ephemeral wildflowers and each year I check in on my buddies to see how they are doing.
One of the earliest wildflowers is Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). The odd-looking leaves are usually just barely emerged when the wildflowers bloom and they curl around the stem like a baby clinging to their mother. While the flowers do not last very long, the leaves persist well into the summer.
Bloodroot seeds, like many other spring ephemerals, have seeds that are tough and covered with elaiosomes, which are fleshy appendages that ants love. The ants carry the elaiosome-laden seeds back to their nest where they feed them to the maturing larvae. The seeds themselves are of little use to the ants, and the ants simply dispose of the seeds in the waste area, which includes dead ants and their feces. The area might not sound pleasant, but it's rich in nutrients and makes a great place for the seeds to germinate.