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Pimpinella saxifraga

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
70 centimetres tall
Grassland, meadows, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside.

White, 5 petals
Neither a Burnet or a Saxifrage. The flowers have no bracts. Umbels, up to 5cm wide. The 5 white petals are notched with curved tips. Occasionally tinged pink. Pollinated by bees.
Egg-shaped, glossy fruit on hairless stalks. Green, later turning brown.
Stalked, pinnate leaves with toothed leaflets. The lower leaves are 1-pinnate. The upper leaves are 1-pinnate but sometimes 2-pinnate. The leaves alternate along the stems. Perennial.
Other Names:
Greater Burnet Saxifrage, Hollowstem Burnet Saxifrage, Lesser Burnet, Rockfoil, Solidstem Burnet Saxifrage.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Pimpinella saxifraga, also known as burnet saxifrage or rockfoil, is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. P. saxifraga is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 30 centimeters. It has long, narrow, green leaves and small, pink or red flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions and respiratory problems. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. P. saxifraga is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soil.


Burnet Saxifrage, also known as Pimpinella saxifraga, is a beautiful and delicate wildflower that is commonly found in the meadows and pastures of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Despite its delicate appearance, Burnet Saxifrage is a hardy plant that can survive in a variety of conditions and soil types.

The plant typically grows to a height of 20-50 cm and has delicate, feathery leaves that are often used in flower arrangements. The small, white or pink flowers of Burnet Saxifrage are produced in tight clusters and are a popular source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

One of the most notable features of Burnet Saxifrage is its use as a medicinal herb. For centuries, the plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion, digestive problems, and respiratory issues. The plant's roots and leaves contain a range of beneficial compounds, including tannins, bitter compounds, and volatile oils, which are believed to contribute to its medicinal properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Burnet Saxifrage is also prized for its culinary uses. The leaves and stems of the plant have a mild, slightly bitter flavor that is often used to flavor sauces, dressings, and salads. The leaves can also be used as a substitute for capers, as the flavor is similar but less intense.

Despite its many uses and benefits, Burnet Saxifrage is still relatively unknown and underutilized. In recent years, however, there has been a growing interest in this versatile and hardy plant, and it is now being cultivated for its medicinal, culinary, and ornamental qualities.

In terms of cultivation, Burnet Saxifrage is relatively easy to grow and care for. It is a hardy plant that is resistant to disease and pests, and it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and soil types. However, it does prefer a moist, well-drained soil and partial shade, so it is important to consider these conditions when planting.

For medicinal purposes, Burnet Saxifrage can be harvested and used in a variety of forms, including as a tea, tincture, or dried herb. When using the plant for medicinal purposes, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.

In terms of its ornamental qualities, Burnet Saxifrage is a beautiful and graceful plant that is perfect for adding a touch of delicate beauty to any garden or wildflower meadow. It is especially effective when planted in large groups, as the masses of small white or pink flowers are very striking.

Overall, Burnet Saxifrage is a plant with many benefits and uses that is well worth considering. Whether you are interested in using it for its medicinal properties, its culinary uses, or simply as a beautiful addition to your garden, Burnet Saxifrage is a plant that has much to offer.

Additionally, Burnet Saxifrage has also been used in traditional folklore and myth, and it is considered to have symbolic meaning in some cultures. In ancient Greece, the plant was associated with the mythological nymph, Saxifrage, who was said to have used the plant to heal her broken heart.

In some cultures, Burnet Saxifrage is also believed to have protective qualities and is used in traditional magic and rituals. For example, it is often used as a talisman to ward off negative energies and promote good health and well-being.

In terms of its ecological importance, Burnet Saxifrage is an important nectar source for bees and other pollinators. Its delicate flowers attract a wide range of pollinators, including butterflies, moths, and bumblebees, making it an important plant for supporting biodiversity in meadows and pastures.

Lastly, it is important to note that while Burnet Saxifrage is a hardy and resilient plant, it is also considered a threatened species in some areas. In these areas, it is important to protect and preserve existing populations, as well as to promote responsible cultivation practices to ensure the sustainability of this valuable and versatile plant.

In conclusion, Burnet Saxifrage is a fascinating and multi-faceted plant with a rich history and many benefits. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its culinary uses, or simply its ornamental qualities, Burnet Saxifrage is a plant that is well worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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