SALAD BURNET

Poterium sanguisorba

(Formerly: Sanguisorba Minor ssp. minor)
Rose Family [Rosaceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8green
 
inner
inner8red
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZclustered
 
stem
stem8square
 
stem
stem8ribbed
ribbed
smell
smell8aromatic
cucumber

8th June 2005, Monsall Dale, Derbyshire Photo: © RWD
A low sprawling plant.


8th June 2005, Monsall Dale, Derbyshire Photo: © RWD
Square stems bear small deeply-toothed leaves, either in opposite pairs or alternate, ending with a trefoil leaf. The flowers are small, and in a globular or ovoid head, with the most prominent feature being the numerous short red styles protruding from each flower, like miniature shaving brushes.


8th June 2005, Monsall Dale, Derbyshire Photo: © RWD
The leaf rachis have ridges on each corner. Leaflets either opposite or alternate.


26th May 2015, Monks Dale, Derbyshire Photo: © RWD
Stamens bursting to get out. Stems ribbed.


26th May 2015, Monks Dale, Derbyshire Photo: © RWD
Breakout! Stamens make a break for freedom.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
   Stamens letting it all hang out! Flowerheads (male or bisexual - here bisexual) are rounder than the oblate-spheroid shaped ones of Fodder Burnet. The upper part here has female flowers which open to reveal two sets of red styles (here mostly gone) whereas the lower compartments (male flowers here) open to let dozens of long white stamens dangle bearing creamy-yellow pollen.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
  Red styles turned brown, but pollen now ripe.


10th June 2009, Smardale, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
  The creamy grains of pollen are splattered all over the four green sepal-like petals; being the compartments from which they emerge.


26th May 2015, Chee Dale, Derbyshire. Photo: © RWD
Two over-lapping basal pale-green rosettes, the right one with a developing flower-head.


7th Sept 2007, ex-rly-line, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
When growing the leaflets have a Jacob's-Ladder or stairway to heaven appearance.


25th Sept 2008, Haweswater, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are rounder than those of Fodder Burnet.


25th Sept 2008, Haweswater, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
With a dew-drop on the end of the teeth which are more rounded and less pointed than those of Fodder Burnet.


7th Sept 2007, ex-rly-line, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Unlike the teeth on the leaflets of Fodder Burnet, the teeth are more rounded.


Easily confused with : Fodder Burnet which is a more substantial sub-species of Salad Burnet.

No relation to : Burnet Rose, Burnet-Saxifrage or Greater Burnet-Saxifrage [plants with similar names]

The name gives a clue as to its' use: the fresh leaves have a nutty flavour and were used to flavour salads, salad dressings, cheese, soup and summer drinks. Previously used as a spice to flavour beer and brandy. It smells of cucumber.

Distinguishing Feature : The flowers of both Fodder Burnet and Salad Burnet are tiny, green and mostly closed-up and clustered together like small globules on the end of the stalk. When ripe, a cluster of conspicuous red styles emerges from the closed flower cup, and a similar cluster of longer yellow anthers droops downwards like a yellow fuzzy beard.

Grows in dry grassland on limy soils.

A RARE CARBOXYLIC ACID

A unique phenolic carboxylic acid, has been isolated from Salad Burnet, namely 4,8-dimethoxy -7-hydroxy -2-oxo-2H-1-benzopyran -5,6-dicarboxylic acid, shown above. It is a carboxy derivative of the Coumarin Daphnetin (shown below), and is rather rare. Note the similarity to Ellagic Acid, shown below.

ELLAGIC ACID


Ellagic Acid is a common phenolic compound found in many fruits and nuts such as Blackberry, Raspberry and Cranberry. It has anti-oxidant properties as well as anti-proliferation activity, meaning it protects from certain cancers by inhibiting the binding of certain carcinogens (such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons and nitrosamines) to DNA. Ellagic Acid can be viewed as consisting of two fused molecules of the coumarin Daphnetin. [Daphnetin is shown for comparison only, it has no known presence in Salad Burnet].

Plants also use Ellagic Acid to form Ellagitannins, which are forms of Tannins.

Also found in Salad Burnet are the flavones Quercetin and Kaempferol, both of which are poisonous to some extent.


  Poterium sanguisorba  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Rosaceae  

Distribution
family8rose family8rosaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8sanguisorba
Sanguisorba
(Burnets)

SALAD BURNET

Poterium sanguisorba

(Formerly: Sanguisorba Minor ssp. minor)
Rose Family [Rosaceae]  

WildFlowerFinder Homepage