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White Burnet

Sanguisorba canadensis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Bogs, gardens, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, swamps, waterside, wetland.

White, no petals
Elongated, creamy-white, cylindrical flowerheads, each up to 20cm (8 inches) tall. Flowers each have 4 long stamens. No true petals. Pollinated by insects.
Winged capsules. The seeds ripen in September and October.
A tall, clump-forming perennial flower, much taller than other UK burnet species. The leaves are pinnate and the leaflets are narrowly oblong.
Other Names:
American Burnet, American Great Burnet, Canadian Burnet, Canadian Salad Burnet.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Sanguisorba canadensis, also known as Canadian burnet or Canadian salad burnet, is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae. It is native to North America and is commonly found in moist, shaded areas, such as woodlands, along streams, and in wetland areas. S. canadensis is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 1.5 meters. 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. S. canadensis is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate moist, shaded conditions.


White Burnet, scientifically known as Sanguisorba canadensis, is a herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Rosaceae family. This plant is native to North America and is widely found in the United States and Canada. White Burnet is a fascinating plant that is widely known for its beauty, versatility, and easy-to-grow nature.

Appearance and Characteristics

White Burnet is a tall plant that can grow up to a height of 4-6 feet, and it features a long, thin stem that is covered in delicate, lacy leaves. The leaves are bright green in color, and they have a deeply serrated edge, giving the plant a unique and elegant appearance. The plant also produces spikes of delicate white flowers that bloom from June to August. The flowers are small and insignificant, but they give off a sweet fragrance that is loved by pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Cultivation and Care

White Burnet is an easy-to-grow plant that requires very little maintenance. It is best grown in full sun to partial shade and in well-drained soil. This plant is quite tolerant of different soil types, and it can grow in soil that is rich, poor, or even sandy. White Burnet is also quite drought tolerant, making it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for low-maintenance plants. To keep the plant looking its best, it is important to deadhead the spent blooms regularly and to cut back the foliage in the fall.

Uses and Benefits

White Burnet is not only a beautiful plant to admire but it also has several uses and benefits. The plant's leaves and stems contain tannins and other compounds that have astringent properties. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to help with a range of health issues, including skin irritations, wounds, and digestive problems.

In addition to its medicinal properties, White Burnet is also a great plant for ornamental purposes. Its delicate appearance and sweet fragrance make it a popular choice for cottage gardens, meadows, and wildflower gardens. The plant is also a great choice for planting along streams and ponds, as it is tolerant of wet soils and can help to prevent soil erosion.


White Burnet is a fascinating plant that is well worth adding to your garden. With its beauty, versatility, and ease of care, it is a great choice for gardeners of all levels.

Additionally, White Burnet has been used in traditional Native American medicine for various purposes. For example, the plant's roots were used to treat wounds, and its leaves were made into a tea to relieve stomach pains. The plant's astringent properties also make it a popular ingredient in cosmetics, including skin toners and facial washes.

The plant is also a great food source for wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and birds. The leaves and stems are edible, and they are a great source of vitamins and minerals. The plant's seeds are also edible and can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and salads.

In terms of horticulture, White Burnet is easy to propagate, and it can be done by dividing the clumps of the plant in the spring or by taking cuttings in the summer. The plant is also a great choice for planting in containers, as it does not require a lot of space and can be easily moved indoors in the winter.

It's worth noting that White Burnet is a hardy plant that is resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it can be affected by powdery mildew, which is a fungal disease that causes white, powdery spots to form on the leaves. To prevent this, it is important to provide adequate air circulation and to avoid overcrowding the plants.

Another important aspect to consider when planting White Burnet is its invasiveness. In some areas, the plant can become invasive and spread quickly, displacing native plants. To avoid this, it is important to plant White Burnet in a controlled environment, such as a container or a designated area in the garden, and to keep an eye on its growth.

Finally, White Burnet is a great plant for butterfly gardens, as it is an important source of nectar for these beautiful insects. The plant's delicate white flowers provide a perfect landing pad for butterflies, and its sweet fragrance attracts them from a distance.

In conclusion, White Burnet is a versatile and beautiful plant that offers many benefits for both gardeners and wildlife. Whether you are looking to add a touch of beauty to your garden, to attract butterflies, or to grow a plant with medicinal properties, White Burnet is a great choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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