Canadian Burnet Sanguisorba canadensis

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
white burnet


Commonly known as Canadian burnet, this plant features compound leaves that are pinnate, meaning the leaflets are arranged on either side of a common axis. Each leaf typically has a number of oval to oblong leaflets with toothed edges, giving them a somewhat lacy appearance. The foliage is usually a fresh green color that can make this plant a lovely and vibrant addition to any setting where its size is appropriate. One of the most striking features of Canadian burnet is its flowers. They form dense, elongated spikes atop tall, slender stems rising above the foliage. The small flowers that make up these spikes are typically creamy white to pale green, and they may have a slight pinkish tinge. The flowers do not have petals; instead, they have a tufted appearance due to the prominent, elongated stamens that extend outward. The overall impression of this plant is one of lightness and feathery texture, both in its leaf and flower structure. This characteristic makes it an attractive plant for garden borders or as a naturalistic planting in moist, grassy areas. It has a certain elegance that can complement a variety of garden designs, contributing to its appeal for gardeners who value plants with a unique and delicate visual interest.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Canadian Burnet, American Burnet, Canada Burnet, White Burnet.

    • Common names

      Poterium canadense.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis) is not commonly known to be toxic to humans. No significant toxic effects or symptoms of poisoning from ingesting this plant have been widely reported in the literature. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities may occur, and it's always prudent to avoid ingesting plants that are not commonly consumed as food or known to be safe.

    • To pets

      Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis) is not commonly known to be toxic to pets either. There is no widespread evidence to suggest that ingesting Canadian burnet will cause significant toxicity or symptoms of poisoning in pets. Nonetheless, pet owners should always monitor their animals for any signs of distress after ingesting unfamiliar plants and consult a veterinarian if any adverse reactions are observed.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (0.91-1.22 meters)

    • Spread

      1.5-2.5 feet (0.46-0.76 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Sanguisorba canadensis is known to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, enhancing pollination in the garden.
    • Supports Biodiversity: Provides habitat and food for various wildlife, supporting ecosystem health and diversity.
    • Soil Stabilization: Its root system helps to stabilize soil, preventing erosion in areas where it is established.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds visual interest to gardens and landscapes with its distinctive spikes of white, bottlebrush-like flowers.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires minimal care, proving to be a durable and resilient plant for various garden settings.
    • Natural Pest Control: Can help to mitigate pest populations by attracting beneficial insects that feed on garden pests.
    • Adaptability: It can thrive in a range of environmental conditions including wet soils, making it useful for challenging garden spots.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Sanguisorba canadensis has been used traditionally to reduce inflammation.
    • Hemostatic: The plant is known for its ability to stop bleeding and is used in folk medicine to treat wounds.
    • Gastrointestinal Aid: It is said to be used historically for treating diarrhea and dysentery.
    • Antiseptic: There are claims of the plant's antiseptic properties when used on cuts and scrapes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • As a natural dye: The roots of the Canadian Burnet can be used to produce a small amount of dye for textiles, imparting a unique color depending on the mordant used.
    • Erosion control: Due to its root structure, the Canadian Burnet is beneficial for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion in water-adjacent areas.
    • As animal fodder: It can supplement livestock feed, though it is not a primary forage crop and should be used sparingly.
    • Insect attraction: Canadian Burnet is known for attracting beneficial insects, including pollinators like bees and predators of pests.
    • Ornamental use: Its spikes of white, fluffy flowers can add aesthetic value to naturalistic and wildflower gardens.
    • Culinary ingredient: Some cultures use the leaves of Canadian Burnet in salads for its cucumber-like flavor, although it is not widely known for this use.
    • Crafts: Dried flower spikes can be used in flower arrangements or crafts for their texture and visual interest.
    • Companion planting: The Canadian Burnet might be used alongside other plants as a companion plant to benefit from its insect-attracting properties.
    • Liquid feed: The plant can be fermented in water to create a liquid feed for other plants, though this is not a common practice.
    • Education: The Canadian Burnet can serve as a species in educational gardens or programs, focusing on native plant species and their roles in local ecosystems.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Canadian burnet is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Canadian burnet is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing and Medicine – Sanguisorba canadensis, commonly known as Canadian burnet, has been traditionally used in herbal medicine to stop bleeding and heal wounds, symbolizing its associations with healing.
    • Purity – Its white blooms can symbolize purity and innocence.
    • Patience – The plant's growth cycle and the time it takes for the flowers to mature can represent patience and the passage of time.
    • Peace – Canadian burnet's unassuming appearance is often associated with tranquility and peace.

Every 2-3 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Late summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Canadian burnet requires consistent moisture to thrive, so it's essential to water it whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. On average, this might translate to watering once every week. However, the frequency can vary depending on weather conditions and soil type. In general, aim to provide the plant with about 1 gallon of water per week during the growing season. Adjust the amount during hotter, drier periods or cooler, wetter times. Ensure the water penetrates the soil deeply to encourage strong root development; shallow watering leads to weaker plants.

  • sunLight

    Canadian burnet grows best in full sun to partial shade. Place the plant in a location where it can receive at least four to six hours of sunlight daily. However, it can tolerate some shade, especially in regions with hot summers, which can protect it from scorching. Ideally, morning sun with afternoon shade would be a favorable condition for this perennial.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Canadian burnet is hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 20°F and as high as 90°F. However, it thrives best in temperatures that are typically found in spring and fall, ranging from 60°F to 70°F. It's important to note that during extreme high temperatures, additional watering may be necessary to prevent stress.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Canadian burnet to maintain its shape and encourage new growth. The best time for pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut the plant back by about one-third to encourage bushier growth. Deadheading, or removing spent flowers, can be done throughout the blooming season to keep the plant looking tidy and promote continued flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Canadian Burnet thrives in a soil mix that is rich, well-draining, and consistently moist. The ideal soil pH for Canadian Burnet is between 6.0 and 6.5. A mix of loamy garden soil, compost, and a component like perlite to enhance drainage would be suitable for this plant.

  • plantRepotting

    Canadian Burnet, being a perennial, doesn't typically require frequent repotting. It should be repotted or divided every 3 to 4 years to maintain vigor and health as it can grow quite large.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Canadian Burnet does well in average humidity levels and does not require any special humidity considerations. It is adaptable to the humidity levels typically found in most outdoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure rich, moist soil, bright indirect light, and cool temps for Canadian Burnet.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in moist, well-drained soil, partial shade, and water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis) starts its life as a seed, often requiring a period of cold stratification to break dormancy before germination can occur in early spring. Seedlings emerge and establish a rosette of basal leaves, focusing on root and foliage development. As it grows, Canadian burnet develops a deep and robust root system, enabling it to survive in a variety of conditions including wet meadows and streambanks. In mid to late summer, the plant sends up tall flowering stalks, which are adorned with small, white, densely packed blooms that are attractive to pollinators. After pollination, typically by insects, seeds develop and are eventually dispersed, sometimes by water due to the plant's natural habitat near bodies of water. The plant is perennial and, after setting seed, it will enter a period of dormancy in the winter, re-emerging from the same root system the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer

    • The Canada burnet, Sanguisorba canadensis, is best propagated by seed. The optimal time for sowing seeds is either in autumn or in spring after the last frost. Seeds should be sown onto a prepared seedbed with well-draining soil. It is recommended to lightly cover the seeds with soil as they need light to germinate. Germination can be somewhat slow and irregular, so patience is necessary. Once seedlings have grown large enough to handle and have established a set of true leaves, they can be transplanted to their final position in the garden, ensuring they are adequately spaced to accommodate mature growth.