Great burnet

Great Burnet

©Philip Precey

Great burnet

Scientific name: Sanguisorba officinalis
The egg-shaped, crimson flower heads of Great burnet give this plant the look of a lollipop! It can be found on floodplain meadows - a declining habitat which is under serious threat.

Species information


Height: up to 1.2m

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


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 is a perennial and can survive for decades due to its extensive root system.
It flowers from June to September.

How to identify

A tall plant, Great burnet has oval, crimson flower heads that appear on long, green stalks, giving them the look of lollipops. The divided leaves have oval leaflets.


Most common in Central and Northern England, but also found in South Wales and Southern England.

Did you know?

The crimson heads of Great burnet were once used to make wine in Cumbria, and herbalists used them to stop bleeding.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland and grassland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.