Growing Small Burnet

July 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Burnet, including its small variety Sanguisorba Minor grew in all the old European herb gardens. “Sanguisorba” refers to its ability to staunch blood from wounds. Minor refers to the small variety.

Older herbals mention it as Pimpinella Sanguisorba, but that name is now reserved for the beautiful but poisonous scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvenis.

The leaves contain Vitamin C and have a mild, cucumber-like taste. We use ’em in salads.

It’s a perennial that can easily be grown from seed. It is not picky about soil, and tolerates light shade, drought, heat and cold well.

Makes the heart merry and glad …

Sowing

Sow April – June in a cold frame or in situ directly. Germinates in 3 weeks. Division in spring.

Maintenance

Keep the leaves and flowers pinched back to encourage new leaves.

Enemies

Damage from wildlife and rodents may occur. Disease problems are minimal with small burnet.

Harvesting

The leaves can be used when the plants reach about 4 inches high. Pick fresh leaves and flowers throughout the year.

Remedies

Small burnet is healing, tonic, styptic and cooling, having much the same medicinal qualities as the less tasty medicinal burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).

A poultice of its leaves will stop minor bleeding.

Recipes

Use burnet leaves only when fresh. Leaves can be used with fresh vegetables, casseroles, herb butters, salads, salad dressing, sandwiches, soups, soft cheeses, sauces, vinegars, white sauce, cheese sauce, and as garnish in summer drinks.

Combines well with

  • rosemary and French tarragon.
  • basil and oregano in a herbal vinaigrette for salad dressing.
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