This spring I’ve been fascinated by the blossoms on the Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor). Hard not to be:
I was looking at the flowers–and the differences between them–and wondering if the plant bears male flowers on separate stalks from female flowers?
After a little poking around, I discovered that the plant is way more interesting than that. Apparently, the lower flowers have only male parts, the middle flowers have both, and the top flowers have only female parts. How awesomely bizarre is that?
The leaves are very pretty, also, and have a mild cucumber flavor that’s nice in salads, or floated in cold water in the summer.
We’ve only used Salad Burnet for culinary purposes, but in my reading I discovered that they used to be highly regarded by herbalists as a wound healer and as preventative against many kinds of disease, among other uses. I’ve not tried any of them, but I do know it has a very pleasant taste. The young leaves are best for salads, because the older and larger they get, the more bitter they become.
Salad Burnet is easy to grow. Here in Oregon, the foliage is green all year. If allowed to set seed, it will reproduce freely, and the seedlings are easily dug up and transplanted.