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What is a Bloody Butcher?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Bloody butcher is the name of a perennial flower that can be found throughout the eastern United States (US), which is noted for its pleasant appearance and easy growth. Despite the somewhat horrific nickname of the flower, it is quite attractive, typically growing about one foot (30.48 cm) high with three or four elliptical leaves and a flower of usually three red or maroon petals that often stand upright forming a shape like a pyramid. Bloody butcher can also refer to a particular species of tomato developed in the late 20th century, as well as an heirloom species of corn renowned for its striking array of colors.

Also called Trillium recurvatum, bloody butcher is quite a popular and common flower throughout the eastern US. It is known for fairly prodigious growth and is native to areas throughout the east of the country, from Texas to Pennsylvania and just about every state in between. The plant typically grows to about one foot (30.48 cm) to three feet (0.91 m) in height and usually has three elliptical leaves that grow below the flower.

Though uncommon, a bloody butcher can have up to four leaves. It typically grows in areas of partial or full shade. The flower at the top of the stem is usually deep red or crimson in color, though quite rarely the petals can be fairly yellowish in hue. These petals typically stand upright to create a pyramid with a petal on each side of the shape. These flowers will usually bloom from spring to early summer, typically between April and May.

Bloody butcher can also be a nickname for a type of tomato that was only fairly recently introduced. Also known as Lycopersicon esculentum, these tomatoes are somewhat similar to beefsteak tomatoes. They are typically medium in size and the skin is usually a deep red color with a full flavor. Bloody butcher tomatoes ripen quickly, so they are ideal for use in cold climates with a fairly short growing season.

There is also a species of corn, or maize, called bloody butcher corn that has been bred since at least the mid-1800s. This corn is usually deep red or crimson in color with red husks, though some variants are more hybridized and have kernels of different colors. These types of bloody butcher corn have the typical red kernels, as well as kernels that are purple. Others have white, yellow, or cream colored as well, all in a single ear.

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