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American burnet

Sanguisorba canadensis

Sanguisorba canadensis

Regular price $11.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $11.99 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun

Soil moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 6'

Spread: 1.5'

Flowering period: August

Poised atop tall stems, American burnet’s spikes of shaggy white flowers bring an air of the surreal to the garden in late summer. The flowers’ soft, tasseled look is owing to their long stamens, which hang loosely and flutter with each passing breeze.

In NE Ohio, American burnet is native to fens, wet meadows, and thickets, where it grows under full sun in soils of average to moderately wet moisture. In a garden setting, this plant is most impressive when given space to form a patch, and although it is not aggressive, it will tend to spread through underground stems. Due to its height (3 – 6 feet), it is best placed toward the back of the garden, and it is perfect for a sunny wet spot. When planted in combination with tall ironweed, New England aster, and wrinkleleaf goldenrod, American burnet is part of a striking late season floral display.

A botanical curiosity, American burnet is an insect-pollinated species within a mainly wind-pollinated genus (Sanguisorba), which is part of an almost entirely insect-pollinated family (Rosaceae). One possible explanation for this situation is that American burnet’s ancestors followed an evolutionary path from insect pollination to wind pollination and then back to insect pollination. Regardless of how it came about, it seems the insects are very happy to be working with American burnet! Although detailed information is scarce, reports indicate that American burnet is an absolute bee favorite. Due to the plant’s late blooming period (late summer – fall), it can serve as an important pollen and nectar source for bees that are preparing to hibernate.

Photo by dbmcc09.

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