The dainty unusual flower of salad burnet

The unusual flowers of this cucumber flavoured herb.

At this time of year salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) is thriving in the garden. It is a useful small salad herb that although not well known or often used today, was highly regarded by many early herbalists and housewives. One writer suggested that “the leaves stripped into wine and droken, doth comfort and rejoice thee hart and are good against the trembling and the shaking of the same”, while another claimed that it was “a capital wound herb for all sorts of wounds both inward and outward”. King Chaba of Hungary was supposed to have cured the wounds of 15,000 of his soldiers by the application of the juice of burnet. Thought to have originated in the Mediterranean, salad burnet is now naturalised over much of southern England and in parts of the USA although it is only seen in gardens in Australia. It is a perennial that grows in an attractive fountain-shaped clump. This growth habit makes it a perfect candidate for a border to edge a flower or vegie bed, it also looks attractive when grown in groups of three of more to form a larger dense clump. Gardeners in Tudor times used it to edge knot gardens and Francis Bacon recommended that it should be grown along pathways with wild thyme and water mint “to perfume the air most delightfully, being trodden on and crushed”. Read more