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Great Burnet

Sanguisorba officinalis

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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, 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 Burnet, 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:
1 metre tall
Ditches, floodplains, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides.

Red, 4 petals
Great Burnet, found in the Cotswolds, graces the landscape with its delicate and enchanting blooms. Its flowers, known for their subtle elegance, boast a captivating mix of soft, pastel hues that gently sway in the breeze. These petals, ranging from blush pinks to soothing purples, come together to create a visual symphony of natural beauty. With a graceful and tranquil presence, the Great Burnet's blooms provide a silent oasis of charm and serenity within the picturesque Cotswolds, inviting all who encounter them to revel in their ethereal allure.
Great Burnet, nestled in the Cotswolds, produces small, dainty fruits that embody the quintessential British countryside. These fruits, often referred to as "hips," are small, rounded, and richly coloured, resembling tiny jewels amidst the greenery. Their deep, jewel-toned reds and purples evoke a sense of rustic charm and nostalgia. These little gems are not only a visual delight but also a source of sustenance for local wildlife, adding to the ecosystem's intricate tapestry in this serene corner of the Cotswolds.
The leaves of the Great Burnet in the Cotswolds exude a simple yet enduring beauty. These leaves are lance-shaped and a rich shade of green, with a waxy sheen that catches the soft, diffused light of the Cotswold countryside. Each leaf is finely serrated along the edges, lending an air of elegance to its overall appearance. Clustered at the base of the plant, these leaves form a dense, emerald carpet that contrasts beautifully with the surrounding landscape. As they sway gently in the breeze, these leaves contribute to the tranquil, rustic charm of the Cotswolds' Great Burnet, adding to its allure as a serene and timeless natural wonder.
The fragrance of the Great Burnet in the Cotswolds is a delicate and understated one, mirroring the plant's tranquil presence in the landscape. When in bloom, its flowers emit a soft, sweet scent that is reminiscent of wild meadows and summer breezes. The fragrance is not overpowering but rather a subtle, aromatic whisper that blends harmoniously with the natural surroundings, enhancing the sensory experience of being in the serene Cotswold countryside. It evokes a sense of calm and connection to the land, making it a gentle and inviting presence in the British flora.
Other Names:
Burnet Bloodwort, Common Burnet, Garden Burnet, Greater Burnet, Greater Salad Burnet, Italian Burnet, Italian Pimpernel, Official Burnet, Salad Burnet.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Sanguisorba officinalis, also known as great burnet or salad burnet, is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. S. officinalis is a herbaceous perennial that grows to a height of up to 1 meter. 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. officinalis is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soil.


Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) is a perennial plant that belongs to the family Rosaceae. This plant is native to Europe, Asia and North America, but is also commonly found in many other parts of the world.

The Great Burnet is a hardy plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters tall and has a deep root system that makes it drought tolerant. It produces long spikes of small, pink-red flowers that bloom from June to September. These flowers are attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

The leaves of the Great Burnet are highly fragrant and have a slightly bitter taste, making them a popular ingredient in salads and other dishes. The plant also has a long history of medicinal use. The roots and leaves have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues and wounds.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, the Great Burnet is also grown for ornamental purposes. Its attractive flowers and unique foliage make it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers. The plant is also often used in wildflower meadows and naturalistic plantings.

The Great Burnet is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of soils and is generally adaptable to different types of conditions. It is also relatively low maintenance and does not require regular watering or fertilizing. However, it is important to plant it in well-drained soil to avoid root rot.

It is also important to note that while the Great Burnet is generally a hardy plant, it is susceptible to some pests and diseases, such as powdery mildew and aphids. To avoid these issues, it is important to keep the plant healthy by providing it with adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients.

In addition to its ornamental and practical uses, the Great Burnet also provides important benefits to the ecosystem. As a source of nectar and pollen, it provides food for a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. Its deep root system also helps to prevent soil erosion and improve soil health.

One of the unique features of Great Burnet is its ability to attract a variety of pollinators. This plant provides an important source of food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which in turn helps to support a healthy and diverse ecosystem.

In addition to attracting pollinators, Great Burnet is also known for its ability to attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings. These insects are natural predators of pests such as aphids and scale insects, which can help to reduce pest pressure in the garden.

The Great Burnet is also a valuable plant for wildlife, providing cover and habitat for a variety of birds and small mammals. Its deep root system also helps to improve soil health and structure, making it an excellent choice for planting in areas that are prone to soil erosion.

In conclusion, Great Burnet is a versatile plant that offers a wide range of benefits for both people and the environment. Whether grown for its ornamental value, culinary uses, medicinal properties or its ability to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, this plant is definitely worth considering for your next gardening project. With its adaptability, low maintenance requirements and its ability to support a healthy ecosystem, Great Burnet is an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

30 Facts About Great Burnet

Here are 30 fascinating facts about the Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis):

  1. Botanical Name: The Great Burnet is scientifically known as Sanguisorba officinalis.

  2. Common Names: It's also referred to as Common Burnet, Garden Burnet, and Greater Burnet.

  3. Appearance: This herbaceous perennial plant can grow up to 1.5 meters in height.

  4. Leaves: The leaves are pinnate with multiple leaflets arranged along the stem.

  5. Flowers: The plant produces dense, cylindrical flower spikes composed of tiny, dark red to purplish-black flowers.

  6. Habitat: Great Burnet is native to Europe and Asia and thrives in damp meadows, marshes, and along riverbanks.

  7. Historical Uses: It has a long history of medicinal use and was traditionally used for its astringent properties to treat wounds and digestive issues.

  8. Wildlife Attraction: The plant's nectar-rich flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

  9. Edible Leaves: While not commonly eaten today, the leaves were historically used in salads and herbal teas.

  10. Root Use: The root was also used in herbal medicine, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine.

  11. Folklore: In European folklore, it was believed that placing Great Burnet under one's pillow would bring pleasant dreams.

  12. Culinary Use: In some regions, young leaves were used to flavor dishes and drinks.

  13. Astringent Properties: The Latin name "Sanguisorba" means "to staunch bleeding," highlighting its historical use as a natural remedy for stopping bleeding.

  14. Perennial Plant: It is a perennial, which means it comes back year after year.

  15. Herbaceous: Great Burnet is herbaceous, meaning it lacks woody tissue and dies back to the ground in winter.

  16. Medicinal Compounds: The plant contains tannins and other compounds believed to have medicinal properties.

  17. Historical Herb: It was cultivated as a herb in medieval gardens for its supposed healing properties.

  18. Astringent Tea: Infusions made from the leaves and roots were used as astringent tonics.

  19. Traditional Hemorrhoid Remedy: Great Burnet was used traditionally to treat hemorrhoids.

  20. Conservation: In some areas, it's considered a threatened or endangered species due to habitat loss.

  21. Flower Arrangements: The plant's striking flowers are sometimes used in floral arrangements.

  22. Culinary Herb in Eastern Europe: In Eastern European cuisines, the leaves were used as a seasoning for soups and stews.

  23. Dried Herb: The leaves were also dried for later culinary and medicinal use.

  24. Historical Records: References to Great Burnet can be found in ancient Greek and Roman texts.

  25. Aromatic Roots: The roots have a subtle, aromatic fragrance when crushed.

  26. Natural Dye: The plant was historically used as a source of natural dye, producing shades of red and brown.

  27. Ornamental Plant: In addition to its practical uses, Great Burnet is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.

  28. Medieval Herb Gardens: It was a common inclusion in medieval monastery herb gardens.

  29. Native Range: While it's widely cultivated, it's also still found growing wild in its native range.

  30. Wildflower Meadows: Great Burnet is often associated with the preservation of wildflower meadows, where it contributes to biodiversity.

Remember that while Great Burnet has various historical and traditional uses, it's essential to exercise caution and consult with experts when considering any consumption or medicinal use.


Great Burnet filmed in the following locations:
  • Bourton-on-the-water, Gloucestershire: 26th June 2023
  • Little Rissington, Gloucestershire: 26th June 2023

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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