Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’.
This is delightful member of an increasingly trendy genus. Each flower of Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ is a tight pink cheese puff, made fluffy with an all round coating of black tipped, white stamens. The flowers waft in the wind making a see-through haze of pink and white. One of those plants that is lovely from a distance and intriguing on close inspection. A magnet to insects and needs no staking. Attractive foliage, with leaves that are pinnate like a Rowan tree, form spreading low clumps. Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ is the pink member of the ‘Tanna’ series of sanguisorba, being about mid height in the range that sanguisorba grow at 60-80cm.
Great Burnet, Burnet Bloodroot – Sanguisorba
Bloodroot, or Sanguisorba offincinalis is native to Europe including the British Isles, though it is not widespread. The Midlands and North are where you would mostly find it. It grows in damp meadows and pasture as do most Sanguisorba, the notable exception being Sanguisorba minor which grows on dry grassy or rocky places, often on lime. The related Sanguisorba minor (salad burnet) is found on chalk and limestone grassland and grows further north and South.
People grow Sanguisorbas for their flowers which are either pink or white bottle-brushes or cone-like on well branched airy flower stalks. The foliage is equally attractive being pinnate like a Rowan tree. The suit the border or more naturalistic plantings equally well.
The common name for the burnets comes from the colour of the flowerheads, burnet is a word for crimson-red. The Latin name comes from the use of the herb in antiquity for staunching bleeding. The Latin ‘sanguis’=blood and ‘sorbeo’=I asorb, hence Sanguisorba. Sanguisorba officinalis (Greater Burnet) has the strongest medicinal effect and was the herbalists plant of choice for staunching bleeding both internal and external. Do not use Sanguisorba medicinally unless supervised by a trained professional. Sanguisorba minor (Salad Burnet) has similar but milder effect and was much used in the past. It was used to flavour wine. Gerard says of it – ‘the leaves steeped in wine and drunken comfort the heart and make it merry and are good against the trembling and shaking thereof.’ It was used in such quantity that it was formally known as ‘Toper’s Plant’.