Great Burnet - Sanguisorba officinalis


A medium to tall tufted hairless plant. Leaves pinnate, the lower with 3 to 7 pairs of oval leaflets greyish beneath. Flowers, tiny, dull crimson in dense oval heads 10 to 30 mm long, with no petals, but with stamens (4) and styles.

Similar Species

Salad Burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. sanguisorba) and Fodder Burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum) - both with rounded leaves

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Tall plant, usually in damp grassland, leaflets with cordate (heart-shaped) bases


Damp habitats and base rich soils.

When to see it

June to September.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly common in the Midlands and northern England but less frequent elsewhere in Britain.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 353 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011), it is listed as locally abundant

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map