How to Grow Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
- Plant: perennial, hardy to -3deg
- Height: 35cm
- Soil: average, well drained
- Exposure: sun
- Propagation: seeds, division Uses: culinary
burnet or salad burnet is a perennial, most of whose leaves grow
alternately along the stems and close to the ground in rosettes about
20cm high and 45-60com across. The leaves consist of rounded
toothed leaflets that are in opposite pairs along the leaf stalks. The
flower stems grow upright from the middle of the rosettes to about 2
feet and bear clusters of unusual thimble-shaped rose coloured flowers.
Burnet makes an attractive ground cover (if the flower stems are kept
cut back) and a good container ornamental.
Burnet was valued most for its herbal healing qualities. It was supposed
to slow the flow of blood in small veins, and there is a story that King
Chaba of Hungary used it to heal the wounds of 15,000 soldiers after a
great battle. A tea made from the leaves is supposed to have been taken
by American Revolutionary soldiers the night before entering battle so
that, if wounded, they would not bleed to death.
Grow burnet in any well drained soil and in full sun. It does, however,
require routine watering. It grows easily from seeds, and if the flowers
are allowed to mature they will self sow almost too freely. You also can
divide the clumps if you want more plants.
Salad burnet has a fresh, pleasant, cucumber-like flavor. The leaves can
be added to salads, iced drinks, vinegar, butters, and cream cheese. Use
only the fresh, new leaves.
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