This newly introduced variety of sanguisorba is certainly a little cutie if not a little angel, with its lush spreading mat of variegated white edged leaves and, in the summer months, slender stems topped with bijou little maroon red (raspberry, if you like) buttons. Adorably cute, we think. Sun or semi-shade. Any reasonable soil. 12 in. 1 litre pot.


Sanguisorba Little Angel is a new baby form of the British native salad burnet, so the leaves are in fact edible, best when young, lending a slightly nutty or cucumber flavour (as your palate suggests) to salads. There seems to be some debate about whether Little Angel is a form of Sanguisorba Minor or S. Officinalis var. microcephala, witth the majority plumping for the latter at the last count.

Apart from the salad uses mentioned above, sanguisorba has a long history of herbal or medical applications, the most important of which involves useing the astringent properties of the leaves to slow and stop bleeding. That’s how the genus name came about, as sanguisorba is from the Latin words for blood and to soak up. As for where the common name of burnet comes from, it is derived from the Old French burnete, meaning brown in reference to the colouration of the flowers on some species.

Sanguisorba Little Angel is a recent introduction, listed in the RHS Plant Finder for the first time in 2015 (we think we were one of the first seven nurseries in the UK to do so), but it’s sure to be a long-term favourite with its winning combination of cream and green variegated leaves and dinky little maroon buttons. Given its diminutive stature, you may need to make sure you plant it where there is no chance of other bigger plants muscling it out of the way.

Sanguisorba Little Angel is a hardy perennial with variegated leaves and maroon red button flowers in summer suitable for sun or semi-shade.

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