Great Burnet Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin' (v)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
great burnet 'Shiro-fukurin'


Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin', commonly known as Great Burnet, is a perennial plant recognized for its decorative appeal in garden settings. The 'Shiro-fukurin' variety is distinguishable by its unique foliage and flower characteristics. The leaves are pinnate – meaning they have a feather-like arrangement. Each leaflet is oval-shaped with a clean margin and a subtle green hue. What makes 'Shiro-fukurin' particularly notable is the variegation present in its foliage; the leaves typically showcase a creamy white or pale yellow border that contrasts attractively against the green center. As for the blooms, Great Burnet exhibits small, tightly packed spherical flower heads that appear atop slender, upright stems. The flowers themselves are often a deep reddish-purple or burgundy color, giving them a striking appearance against the variegated foliage. These blossoms can add textural interest to a garden due to their unique form and tend to attract pollinators like bees. The flower heads are elevated above the foliage on long stems, creating a floating effect that can add a delicate beauty to the plant's overall form. Additionally, Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin' boasts a clumping habit and gradually forms dense bunches of growth through its underground rhizomes. Over time, this can create a lush, full appearance in garden beds or borders. It's also worth noting that this variety, like other Great Burnets, can add a naturalistic or wildflower-like quality to garden designs, especially when planted en masse or intermingled with other perennial plants.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Great Burnet, Salad Burnet, Garden Burnet, Variegated Great Burnet.

    • Common names

      Sanguisorba officinalis var. alba 'Shiro-fukurin', Poterium officinale (L.) A.Gray.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Great Burnet is not commonly known to be toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases or widespread reports of poisoning from ingesting Great Burnet. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities can occur. If you suspect poisoning, it's essential to seek medical advice or care.

    • To pets

      Great Burnet is not commonly known to be toxic to pets. There is limited information regarding adverse effects in pets, but it is not generally considered to be a poisonous plant to animals such as dogs and cats. However, individual animals may have unique sensitivities, so if signs of illness are observed after ingestion, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Temperate regions


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds a unique visual interest with its variegated foliage and distinctive, spire-like flowers.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The blooms provide nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
    • Garden Design: Can be used in a variety of garden styles including cottage gardens, prairie plantings, and as border plants.
    • Durable: It is a hardy perennial, able to withstand cold temperatures and resist many diseases and pests.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, making it suitable for water-conserving gardens.
    • Soil Adaptability: Can thrive in a range of soil types, as long as they are well-drained.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Hemostatic: Sanguisorba officinalis, commonly known as Great Burnet, has been traditionally used for its hemostatic properties to help stop bleeding.
    • Anti-inflammatory: The plant may possess compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
    • Gastrointestinal Aid: It is used in herbal medicine for treating gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and dysentery.
    • Antioxidant: Great Burnet may contain antioxidants that help in protecting the body from oxidative stress and damage.
    • Wound Healing: It is sometimes used as a topical remedy for wounds, aiding in the healing process.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin', commonly known as Great Burnet, can be used as a natural dye for textiles, providing shades of grey to muted greens depending on the mordant used.
    • Great Burnet leaves can be incorporated into ornamental pressed flower arrangements, where their unique foliage patterns add an interesting visual element.
    • The strong fibrous stems of the Great Burnet plant are sometimes used in traditional papermaking processes to create a high-quality, textured paper.
    • The flowers, when dried, are used in potpourris or as a natural confetti for eco-friendly celebrations due to their long-lasting color and shape.
    • Great Burnet is a natural food source for some butterfly and moth species during their larval stage, promoting biodiversity in gardens.
    • The seeds of Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin' can be used to feed birds, especially in winter when food sources are scarce.
    • You can use the aesthetic appeal of Great Burnet in photography, where its distinctive flowers and foliage provide a dramatic background or focal point.
    • Gardeners may plant Great Burnet as companion plants to certain vegetables, as their deep roots can help improve soil structure and water penetration.
    • Great Burnet plants can be grown near beehives, as they are a good nectar source for bees, thus helping in the process of pollination for surrounding plants.
    • In some cultures, the plant is used to craft small decorative items like bookmarks or greeting cards due to its unique leaf variegation and floral shape.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Great Burnet is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Great Burnet is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: The most common common name for Sanguisorba officinalis is "Great Burnet," and this plant has historically been used for medicinal purposes, representing healing and the ability to recover.
    • Protection: Great Burnet’s use in traditional medicine also symbolizes protection against ailments and diseases.
    • Peace: The calming effects of Great Burnet's herbal properties lend it the symbolic meaning of peace and tranquility.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin') prefers consistent moisture and should be watered deeply once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. During hot or dry spells, increase watering to maintain evenly moist soil, being careful not to overwater which can lead to root rot. Aim for about one to one and a half gallons of water weekly, adjusting as necessary for precipitation or extreme temperatures. Always check the top inch of soil before watering; if it feels dry, it's time to water again.

  • sunLight

    Great Burnet thrives in full sun to partial shade. It is best to place the plant in a spot where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. If grown in too much shade, the plant may become leggy and produce fewer flowers. However, in areas with very hot summers, some afternoon shade can help protect the plant from scorching.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Great Burnet can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from as low as -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in winter to summer highs well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal growing temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As a hardy perennial, it adapts well to typical garden conditions in most temperate regions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Great Burnet is mainly done to remove dead or faded flower spikes and to shape the plant if necessary. Deadheading encourages more blooms and prevents self-seeding if not desired. The best time to prune is late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Prune selectively, cutting back the previous year's growth by about a third to promote robust, fresh foliage.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Great burnet, or Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin', thrives in well-draining soil enriched with organic matter. A mix containing loam, sand, and compost or well-rotted manure will support healthy growth. The ideal soil pH for great burnet is neutral to slightly acidic, ranging from about 5.5 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Great burnet generally does not require frequent repotting and can often be left undisturbed for several years. It should be repotted or divided when it outgrows its container or starts to crowd itself, typically every 3 to 4 years.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Great burnet is a relatively hardy plant that does not require any specific humidity level. It can thrive in the average humidity conditions found in most outdoor garden environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and cool temperatures for indoor Great burnet.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun to partial shade; enrich soil with organic compost.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin', commonly known as Variegated Great Burnet, starts its life cycle as a dormant seed which typically germinates in early spring. The seedling emerges from the soil and develops into a vegetative plant, forming a basal rosette of pinnate leaves with variegated edges. As the plant matures, it produces erect flowering stems in late spring to summer, topped with dense, bottlebrush-like spikes of small, deep red flowers. After pollination, typically by insects, seeds develop and are eventually dispersed around the parent plant. In autumn, the above-ground parts of the plant die back to the ground, while the roots remain alive and the plant enters a period of dormancy during the cold winter months. With the return of spring warmth, the plant re-emerges from its rootstock, completing the perennial life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Sanguisorba officinalis 'Shiro-fukurin', also known as Great Burnet, is typically propagated in the spring or early summer. The most popular method to propagate this plant is by division. This involves carefully digging up an established clump of the plant and gently separating it into smaller sections, making sure that each division has a portion of the root system. These divisions can then be immediately replanted in a well-prepared soil with good drainage and spaced about 18 to 24 inches (approximately 45 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow for growth. Water the new divisions thoroughly after planting to help establish them. It's important to note that the divisions should be kept moist until they are well-rooted and showing signs of new growth. This method is straightforward and helps to ensure that the distinct variegated leaf pattern of 'Shiro-fukurin' is preserved in the new plants.