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Salad Burnet

Salad Burnet

(Poterium sanguisorba)


This is an attractive, bushy perennial that forms a 12" basal rosette of leaves and grows to 2' tall in flower. Its dark green leaves are sharply toothed. The flowers are small, green, and thimble shaped with reddish purple stigmas.


Salad burnet can be started by seed, by dividing established plants in the spring, or from plants obtained at a garden center. The seed of salad burnet is slow to germinate so it must be started indoors several weeks before the last frost. When the seedlings emerge, thin to 6" — 12" apart. This herb does best in a well-drained soil in full sun. It will tolerate a dry soil but benefits from supplemental watering during the summer. Harvest the leaves when the plant is 4" tall—use only the youngest leaves. Remove the flowers to maintain a compact plant and keep new leaves forming. If flower heads are left on, the plants readily self-sow. The leaves can also be dried for later use.


The delicate foliage makes this plant a better groundcover or specimen in the flower or rock garden; it is not a good border plant. It is attractive when planted near golden thyme, horehound or golden oregano. The leaves taste and smell like cucumber, and are used in salads, salad dressings, iced drinks, egg dishes, cottage cheese, vinegars, and as a garnish.