Great burnet

Tall perennial with characteristic burgundy flowers. A valuable host for butterflies – dusky large blue and scarce large blue. Great burnet is also valued as a honey plant. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.

SKU: N029

22,00 93,00 

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About the species

Polish name: medical bleeding-stopper, medical poterium

Latin name: Sanguisorba officinalis L.

Family: the roses Rosaceae

Status in Poland:native

perennial plant
Flower color:
about 70-150 cm


The plant is perennial, forming half-rosette, with high shoots, unmistakable purple inflorescences, and extensive underground organs.

The roots are thick and fusiform. The rhizomes are not very long, but also quite massive.

The stem of the great burnet is characterized by sparse foliage and branching in a vein. It is furrowed, hollow inside, it may shine poorly. The leaves are pinnate, forming on long petioles. They consist of 3-5 single, toothed, cordate at the base leaflets, and membranous bracts partially adhering to the petiole.

Contrary to the salad burnet, single flowers have a bisexual structure. While single flowers with a reduced calyx and corolla sepals remain very inconspicuous, the entire mature inflorescence can be seen from a distance thanks to its strong burgundy or dark red color. Both the sepals and the stamens are purple. It blooms all summer and early autumn, from June to September.

Fruit in the form of an achene covered by the remains of the calyx sepals.

Additional information


It tolerates partial shade and periodic droughts, although it thrives better in full sun and with constant, high humidity of the substrate.

It likes heavy and fresh or moist soils, but quite permeable. Strong watering is sometimes necessary during the summer heat.

It is usually propagated by dividing clumps, less often by sowing. It looks excellent around garden ponds.

Interesting facts

The great burnet is a highly valued fodder species and herb, sacred in bunches for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th).

The rich areas of this species are currently protected by the Natura 2000 network as an indicator species for meadows of Molinio-Arrhenatheretea and fens.

The youngest, most delicate leaves can be eaten in salads and sauces.

Great burnet in seed mixtures:

Use Value

Valued as a honey plant.

Inflorescences are eagerly visited by many insects, not only hymenopterans but also beetles.

It stays the host plant of the endangered and rare moth in Poland: Diachrysia zosimi, and two species of blues: dusky large blue and scarce large blue. The caterpillars of these two butterflies develop at first in the great burnet inflorescences, and then inside the anthill. Both species are relatively common in Poland, but very few in the countries of the old EU, require active protection through the establishment of a Natura 2000 area and appropriate agri-environment-climate packages. Due to their umbrella and indicator importance for the traditionally managed meadows, dusky large blue, scarce large blue, and their “attendant” ants have been studied in many ecological and genetic researches. The differences between dusky large blue and scarce large blue are very subtle: contrary to scarce large blue, dusky large blue prefers older inflorescences which grow higher on the plant, as well as meadows that are less frequently mown, and therefore more bushy and with higher ground cover.

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