Great Burnet

Sanguisorba officinalis

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Great Burnet


The presence of the bulbous, blood-red heads of Great Burnet is an indication of a rare group of plants and flowers flourishing together in a floodplain meadow. These special grasslands have thrived for centuries because of the way they are managed which results in a flower-rich hay crop. A member of the rose family, Great Burnet can survive for decades due to its extensive root system.

How to identify

Great Burnet has oval, crimson flower heads that appear on long green stalks from June to September; this gives them the look of lollipops. The divided leaves have oval leaflets.

Where to find it

Most common in central and northern areas of England, but also appears in South Wales and the south of England.

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Once awash with wildflowers and alive with insects, our floodplain meadows have been drained, damaged and destroyed; now, only 1,600 hectares of these precious habitats are left in the whole of the UK. This has had a detrimental effect on wildlife and once common plants and animals, from Great Burnet to Ragged-Robin, Curlews to Reed Buntings, are becoming a rarer sight. The Wildlife Trusts look after many meadow and wetland habitats for the benefit of local wildlife and are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices in these areas. You can support this vital work by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Great Burnet
Latin name
Sanguisorba officinalis
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status