New month, new season, new plant. This is Salad burnet, which seems recently to have had a change of scientific name from Sanguisorba minor to Poterium sanguisorba. As you might guess from the root of the word, the sanguisorba part of those names, old and new, refers to blood. Richard Mabey explains in Flora Britannica: ‘The round, rust-speckled flower-heads, a little like scabs or blood clots, made it a signaturist’s favourite, for staunching wounds….’ I don’t see the resemblance myself – in fact, I think the flower-heads look a little like terrestrial versions of sea-anemones.
From the common name, it is obvious that this plant can be used as a salad green and, though I haven’t tried it myself, I’ve read that it has a slightly bitter taste and that the leaves smell of cucumber when crushed. I will have to revisit the find site to check that out.
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