Salad Burnet - Poterium sanguisorba

Alternative names
Sanguisorba minor

The native plant is subspecies sanguisorba.  Short, rather greyish tufted plant: leaves mostly basal, pinnate with 3 to 12 pairs of rounded or elliptical leaflets. Flowerheads globose, 10 to 20 mm, upper flowers with reddish styles, lower with yellow anthers.

Fodder Burnet (subspecies balearicum) is occasional in wildflower seed-mixes ; it is more robust and leafy, with more deeply and sharply toothed leaflets. 

Similar Species

Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).  Salad and Fodder Burnet have rounded leaves; Great Burnet leaves have cordate bases and the plant is much taller (to 1m).

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Rounded leaves


The native subspecies is found in dry grassland, usually on calcareous soils.  The non-native subspecies is often present in natural landscaped areas associated with new development. 

When to see it

End of April to September.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly common and widespread in England and Wales, more coastal in Scotland.

VC55 Status

It is fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland, but mainly found to the eastern side of Leicestershire and occasional elsewhere in the county. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 121 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011),  the native Salad Burnet (subspecies sanguisorba) is listed as locally frequent, and Fodder Burnet (subspecies balearicum) is listed as alien and rare.  The latter is becoming commoner through introduction in wildflower seed-mixes.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map