Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen'
The plant known as the 'Crimson Queen' has a distinct and striking appearance that draws attention in any garden setting. The foliage presents a lush, deep green, with leaves that are pinnately compound, meaning they have smaller leaflets arranged on either side of a common stalk. The leaflets themselves are oval with toothed margins, giving the foliage a delicate and somewhat ferny appearance. However, it's the flowers of the 'Crimson Queen' that are the true showstopper. Rising above the foliage on slender, wiry stems, the blooms are small yet numerous, tightly packed into elongated, bottlebrush-like spikes that can be characterized by their rich crimson color. These flower spikes, sometimes referred to as inflorescences, have a fluffy, feathery look that adds a soft contrast to the more rigid stems. The plant has a structured and upright growing habit, with the flowering stems standing tall above the foliage clump below. This erect posture allows the flowers to sway gently in the breeze, adding a dynamic element to its profile. The 'Crimson Queen' blooms during the summer months, and if left on the plant, the flower spikes can also add visual interest in the fall and winter, as they can become dry and brown while retaining their distinctive shape.
About this plant
Great Burnet, Garden Burnet, Official Burnet, Burnet Bloodwort, Crimson Queen.
Poterium officinale (L.) A.Gray, Sanguisorba officinalis var. microcephala Ser., Sanguisorba officinalis var. longifolia Bertol., Sanguisorba officinalis var. anceps W.D.J.Koch, Sanguisorba microcephala (Ser.) Koso-Pol., Poterium sanguisorba L.
Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen') is not known to be toxic to humans. There are no widespread reports of poisoning from ingestion of any parts of this plant. Therefore, it is generally considered safe in terms of not having toxic properties that would cause harm to humans if touched or ingested. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities may exist, and it’s always a good practice to avoid eating plants not specifically grown for consumption.
Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen') is also not known to be toxic to pets. There is no evidence to suggest that this plant poses a risk of poisoning to cats, dogs, or other household pets. Similar to humans, pets are unlikely to experience toxicity from ingesting parts of this plant. If a pet were to ingest a large amount of the plant, they might experience mild gastrointestinal upset due to the novelty of the plant matter in their diet rather than due to any inherent toxicity.
Color of leaves
3 feet (0.91 meters)
1.5 feet (0.46 meters)
- General Benefits
- Attracts Pollinators: Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen', commonly known as Great Burnet, attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators to the garden, helping to support biodiversity.
- Drought Tolerant: Once established, Great Burnet is drought resistant, making it a good choice for water-wise gardens and xeriscaping.
- Long Blooming: The plant has a long blooming period, providing a display of deep, crimson-red flowers from midsummer to early fall.
- Low Maintenance: Great Burnet requires minimal upkeep beyond initial planting, making it suitable for gardeners looking for easy-care plants.
- Cold Hardy: It is cold hardy and can survive in harsh climates, down to USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9.
- Decorative Seed Heads: The plant produces ornamental seed heads that add textural interest to the garden even after the blooming season finishes.
- Erosion Control: With its strong root system, Great Burnet helps to prevent soil erosion in sloped areas and garden beds.
- Deer Resistant: It is generally not preferred by deer, which helps to prevent damage to the plant in areas where deer browsing is a concern.
- Ornamental Foliage: The compound leaves of Great Burnet are finely textured, adding green, ornamental foliage to the garden landscape.
- Design Versatility: This plant is versatile in landscaping and can be used in perennial borders, naturalized areas, meadows, and cottage gardens.
- Medical Properties
- Haemostatic: Commonly known as Great Burnet, it has been historically used to help stop bleeding.
- Anti-inflammatory: The plant contains tannins which may contribute to reducing inflammation.
- Gastrointestinal Aid: It may be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery due to its astringent properties.
- Sore Throat Remedy: There is some historical use of Great Burnet for relieving sore throats.
- Wound Healing: The herb has been traditionally applied to wounds to promote healing.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen', commonly known as Great Burnet, can be used in flower arrangements due to its striking bottlebrush-shaped crimson flowers.
- The dried seed heads of Great Burnet can add an interesting texture to dry floral bouquets and can be used for winter decoration purposes.
- The leaves of Great Burnet can be used to create natural dyes for textiles, yielding varying shades of green and yellow depending on mordants used.
- Great Burnet can serve as a food source for certain butterfly caterpillars, making it a valuable plant for butterfly gardens.
- The tall and elegant stems of Great Burnet make it suitable for use in creating artistic and natural fencing or border elements in eco-friendly landscape designs.
- In permaculture, Great Burnet is used for soil stabilization on slopes and banks because of its deep root system.
- The Great Burnet can provide a habitat for beneficial insects and spiders, playing a part in natural pest management within gardens.
- Great Burnet, with its dense growth habit, can be utilized as a low-maintenance ground cover in large landscaping projects to suppress weed growth.
- The robust nature of Great Burnet makes it a good candidate for rehabilitating disturbed soils and sites, such as post-construction land rehabilitation.
- As a companion plant in vegetable gardens, Great Burnet is believed to improve the growth and taste of nearby fruits and vegetables due to its soil-enriching properties.
- Feng Shui
Great Burnet is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
Great Burnet is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Healing - Sanguisorba officinalis, commonly known as Great Burnet, has a historical use in herbal medicine for its potential healing properties, particularly in wound healing.
- Protection - In the past, some believed that the Great Burnet could ward off external threats and was used in folk medicine to protect against ailments and evil.
- Peace - Its serene appearance and use in traditional medicine to calm ailments also lend this plant the symbolic meaning of peace and tranquility.
Great Burnet plants prefer consistent moisture and should be watered thoroughly once a week, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering sessions. During hot or dry weather, you may need to water more frequently, ensuring that about an inch of water is provided each time, which translates to about 0.623 gallons for an average-sized plant. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases; instead, water at the base of the plant. Decrease watering in the fall and winter months when the plant is not in active growth. It's critical to maintain even moisture but also ensure good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions.
Great Burnet thrives in full sun to partial shade, with optimal growth occurring in areas that receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. While it can tolerate some shade, too little light may result in leggy plants and fewer blooms. The ideal spot for this plant would be one that enjoys morning sunlight and some afternoon shade, especially in regions with intense midday sun.
The ideal temperature range for Great Burnet is between 50°F and 85°F. These plants are cold-hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as -30°F, making them suitable for growing in many temperate regions. They can also survive high temperatures as long as they are well-watered. However, plants may go dormant during extreme heat or cold.
Pruning Great Burnet can encourage bushier growth and prevent self-seeding if seed heads are removed before they disperse. Cut back spent flower stems after blooming and trim any dead or damaged foliage as needed. Pruning is typically done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Seasonal cleanup, such as the removal of dead leaves from around the plant's base, can also promote good health and appearance.
Great Burnet, or Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen', thrives best in a well-draining soil mix composed of loamy or sandy soil, with a bit of compost or aged manure to provide nutrients. It prefers a soil pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.
Great Burnet should be repotted or divided every 3-5 years, in early spring or fall, to maintain its health and manage its size.
- Humidity & Misting
Great Burnet does not have specific humidity requirements and can adapt to average outdoor humidity levels.
- Suitable locations
Place Great Burnet near a sunny window and rotate.
Plant in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil.
- Life cycle
Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen', commonly known as Great Burnet, begins its life cycle with seed germination in the spring, whereupon the plant emerges as a seedling and begins to develop a basal rosette of pinnate leaves. As it matures, it grows into a clump-forming perennial with strong, upright stems. Throughout the summer, the plant produces elongated, bottlebrush-like, dark crimson flower spikes that attract a variety of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. After pollination, these flowers develop into small nutlets, which represent the plant's fruiting stage and contain seeds for the next generation. Great Burnet dies back to ground level in the fall, where it enters a period of dormancy over the winter months. In subsequent springs, the plant will re-sprout from its rootstock, continuing its life cycle and increasing in size each year.
Propogation: The most popular method for propagating the Great Burnet, or Sanguisorba officinalis 'Crimson Queen', is through division. This should be done in the spring or autumn when the plant is not in active growth. To propagate by division, carefully lift the plant from the ground with a garden fork, ensuring to keep as much of the root system intact as possible. Gently separate the plant into smaller sections, each with several shoots and a healthy part of the root system. Replant these divisions immediately into well-prepared soil, spacing them approximately 15 to 18 inches (38 to 46 centimeters) apart to ensure ample room for growth. Water the new plants thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and help with the establishment.