Sanguisorba stipulata
Sitka burnet

Alaska Wildflowers | White

Terminal spikes and pinnate leaflets of Sitka burnet (Sanguisorba stipulata)

Sanguisorba stipulata
Sitka burnet

Common Names

Canadian burnet* (See note in ID and Info section below)
Sitka burnet

Synonyms

Sanguisorba sitchensis
Sanguisorba canadensis ssp. latifolia
Sanguisorba canadensis var. latifolia
Sanguisorba canadensis var. sitchensis

Subspecies

none

Genus: Sanguisorba
Family: Rosaceae
Order: Rosales
taxonomic heirarchy

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

Identification and Information

Sanguisorba stipulata, commonly known as Canadian burnet, is a medium-sized perennial herb that grows from a stout caudex. The stems are erect to ascending and grow to 20-80 cm tall. The majority of leaves are basal, long-stemmed (5-35 cm long), and pinnately compound. Each leaf has 9-15 leaflets (up to 21) that are ovate-oblong, cordate at the base, and coarsely serrated. It may have 1-3 much smaller stem leaves, lacking petiole.



The inflorescence is a 3-10 cm long cylindrical terminal spike with 150-300 flowers. The flowers bloom from the base of the spike up (acropetal). It has no petals, only sepals. Calyx lobes are white to greenish white, sometimes tinged purple. The stamen filaments are white, flattened, and 7-13 mm long, much longer than the sepals (giving it the appearance of a brush). The anthers are tan or brown. The fruits are achenes.

Flowering May-September

Note regarding Sanguisorba canadensis: The USDA considers S. stipulata a synonym of S. canadensis, and some sources either do not recognize S. stipulata or fail to list it. However, primary North American taxonomic databases, such as ITIS and VASCAN, recognize Sanguisorba stipulata as a valid species. Further, the Flora of North America discusses this topic, differentiating S. canadensis and S. stipulata as geographically distinct species with notable morphological differences, especially in leaflet shape and flower count. According to FNA, in North America, S. stipulata is the western sister species to S. canadensis, found exclusively in the eastern states and provinces.


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Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

I found no verifiable traditional, medicinal, or culinary uses of S. stipulata. Numerous sources make unfounded claims with no references or evidence. It is used as an ornamental plant.


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Distribution and Habitat

Map data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and Kew. Due to taxonomic confusion detailed above and the lack of information, I have omitted the status for NA regions.

Sanguisorba stipulata is distributed in northwestern North America and eastern Asia. For more information on its range and taxonomy, see the note above and the link to the discussion in the Flora of North America.

Sitka burnet lived in fens, wet meadows, subalpine forests, alpine tundra, stream banks, and forest glades. It’s most common on south-facing slopes.

Classification


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References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Pratt, V. E. (1989). Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers: Commonly Seen Along Highways and Byways (p. 53). Alaskakrafts, inc.

Brandenburg, D. M. 2010. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America. Sterling Publishing. (p. 473)

Classification and Taxonomy

ITIS (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Rafinesque, Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Available at: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=520974#null. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

VASCAN (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Rafinesque, Database of Vascular Plants of Canada. Available at: https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/8955?lang=en. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

Uses

none

Map and Distribution

Plants of the World Online (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Raf. Available at: https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:30108956-2. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

GBIF (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Rafinesque, GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Available at: https://www.gbif.org/species/3029415. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

Description and Information

Flora of North America (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Rafinesque. Available at: http://floranorthamerica.org/Sanguisorba_stipulata. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

Hultén, E. (1968). Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories: A Manual of the Vascular Plants (1st ed.) (pg. 633). Stanford University Press.

Ecological Atlas of Denali’s Flora (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Raf. Available at: https://ecologicalatlas.uaf.edu/index.php/browse-plant-species/atlas-page/?nps_id=1785. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

E-Flora BC (2024). Sanguisorba stipulata Rafinesque. Available at: https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Sanguisorba%20stipulata&redblue=Both&lifeform=7. Accessed on April 11, 2024.

 

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