Some Lesser Known Beauties

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

I love the burnets, or as I think of them by their scientific names, the Sanguisorbas. Canadian burnet, Sanguisorba canadensis, is our native burnet, and thrives in swamps and wetlands. It has white bottlebrush flowers in the fall on stems 4 to 5 feet tall. I grow it by my brook.

Canadian burnet blossoms in a November photo

But the nursery industry is slowly waking up to the beauty of the various species of Japanese burnets. I have 5 different Sanguisorbas, ranging in size from 6 inches to 5 feet tall. All have handsome finely toothed leaves and pink to deep maroon flowers. Three species of mine are blooming right now.

This burnet is 5 feet tall! It flops, so I stake it. 

My favorite is the smallest, Sanguisorba offincinalis ‘Little Angel’. I just got it this summer from Morningstar Perennials in Rockingham, VT. It has a green leaf with an ivory margin. The leaves form a clump about 6 inches tall, and the maroon flowers stand up another 6 inches or so. 

'Little Angel' Sanguisorba officinalis is a real delicate beauty

All thrive in moist soil, but will, I have read, do fine in ordinary garden soil. Sun? Morning sun and afternoon shade suits them best. 

This Japanese burnet looks better to me than this photo shows it.

Want help in your garden? I make house calls - consultations - to help you plan and improve your gardens. Call me at 603-543-1307 or e-mail me at 

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