Also known as Sanguisorba minor. Perennial herbs with plump rounded leaves with scalloped edges. The small pinkish flowers are female only at the apex of the stems, mixed in the middle and male only on the lower portion of the stems. Native to Eurasia, naturalized in North Amercica.
With a cucumber-like flavor, it was commonly included in salads in Europe in the 16th century, especially in winter. Traditionally, this plant and the closely related great burnet, Sanguisorba officinalis have been used to staunch bleeding--records of such use go back to the Han dynasty in China. The foliage contains vitamin C and tannins, but there has been no interest in medicinal use of this plant by modern researchers.
History and Lore
Salad burnet grows well on poor, dry, soil. Thomas Jefferson sent his young workers out with seeds of this plant to stop erosion and create forage for his livestock.