Sanguisorba officinalis
Common Name: greater burnet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Asia, Europe, North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Dark red to black purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Freely self-seeds. Prompt removal of spent flowers will prevent unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sanguisorba officinalis, called great burnet, is a clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows to 3' tall. Features compound odd-pinnate, medium green, basal leaves (7-25 serrate leaflets each) and small terminal spikes (to 1.5" long) of dark purple flowers in summer. Stems are sometimes tinged with red. Has ornamental value, but is often grown as a culinary herb: leaves (especially younger ones) are excellent in salads and soups.

Genus name comes from the Latin words sanguis meaning blood and sorbeo meaning to soak up for its use to stop bleeding.

Specific epithet means sold in shops.


No serious insect or disease problems. Taller plants may need staking or other support.


Borders, herb or vegetable gardens.