Sanguisorba is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rosaceae native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The common name is burnet.

Sanguisorba minor0.jpg
Flower head of Sanguisorba minor
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Sanguisorbeae
Subtribe: Sanguisorbinae
Genus: Sanguisorba

See text

  • Poterium L.


The plants are herbaceous perennials or small shrubs. The stems grow to 50–200 cm tall and have a cluster of basal leaves, with further leaves arranged alternately up the stem. The leaves are pinnate, 5–30 cm long, with 7-25 leaflets, the leaflets with a serrated margin. Young leaves grow from the crown in the center of the plant. The flowers are small, produced in dense clusters 5–20 mm long; each flower has four very small petals, white to red in colour.


The following species are accepted:[1]


Sanguisorba minor is a food plant for the larvae of the grizzled skipper (Pyrgus malvae) and the mouse moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis).

Cultivation and usesEdit

Burnets are cultivated as garden plants. Many cultivars have been bred, especially from S. officinalis. S. canadensis is grown for its white flowers on stems that well exceed a meter tall. The plants hybridize easily, producing new mixes.[2] S. obtusa is valued for its foliage of pink-edged, gray-green leaves.[3]

Sanguisorba officinalis is used medicinally in Asia to treat gastrointestinal conditions and bleeding.[4]

Sanguisorba minor, salad burnet, has similarly been used medicinally in Europe to control bleeding. The leaves have a cucumber flavour and can be eaten in salads, or used fresh or dried and made into a tea.[5]


The Latin genus name Sanguisorba means ‘blood stauncher’. ‘Sanguis’ is a cognate with ‘sanguine’, meaning 'blood'. ‘Sorbeo’ means 'to staunch’. The plant is known to have styptic properties.[6]


  1. ^ "Sanguisorba L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  2. ^ Sutton, J. Sanguisorba in Cultivation. Archived 2013-08-28 at the Wayback Machine The Plantsman. Royal Horticultural Society. June, 2007. 78-83.
  3. ^ Bourne, V. How to grow: Sanguisorba. The Daily Telegraph September 21, 2002.
  4. ^ Choi J, Kim MY, Cha BC, Yoo ES, Yoon K, Lee J, Rho HS, Kim SY, Cho JY (January 2012). "ZYM-201 sodium succinate ameliorates streptozotocin-induced hyperlipidemic conditions". Planta Med. 78 (1): 12–7. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1280219. PMID 21928167.
  5. ^ Bown, Deni (2002). The Royal Horticultural Society New Encyclopaedia of Herbs & Their Uses. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited. ISBN 0-7513-3386-7.
  6. ^ Gledhill, David (2008). The Names of Plants. MCambridge University Press. p. 339. ISBN 9780521866453.