Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Arnhem’
Rich burgundy-raspberry cones glow in a great mass, then later in autumn they mature to near black.
A summer cloud of raspberry-black cones
Although each flower cone is quite small, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of them floating in a haze. So the whole effect is fine, willowy and airy.
Tall but slender Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Arnhem’ makes a splendid backdrop plant.
(Please see “Growing” section below for plant details, how & where to grow)
Dainty fine foliage
Small leaflets make particularly fine and dainty foliage for such a very tall plant. So allowing the lacy “see through” look of Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Arnhem’.
Superb cut flowers
You can cut armloads of the frothy, airy stems, and the raspberry cones will last for ages in a vase.
Hardy & easy to grow
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Arnhem’ grows from a thick rhizome type root base, giving it the toughness to withstand set-backs and overcome difficulties.
Growing: Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Arnhem’
– Height with flowers: Upright strong stems to a minimum of approx. 1.3m. A plant to really impress.
– Width: A graceful clump in an arching fountain shape from a narrower base. So the clump can be approx 75cm at the base but arching out to approx. 90cm. at the top.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade / Dappled Sun is all agreeable to unfussy Sanguisorba officinalis. Some afternoon shade could be appreciated in very hot areas.
Suitable for seaside gardens.
Hardy & easy to grow
– Soil: Sanguisorba officinalis is not at all fussy, and so will cope in all different soils, from sandy to clay and all between. Happily for gardeners with heavy and clay soils which can become quite wet in winter, it even thrives here.
Sanguisorba is not a hungry plant, so average garden soil is perfectly adequate, and heavy fertilizing should not be given.
It is unphased by soils on either the acid or alkaline (lime) side of neutral, and is particularly forgiving of soils with a high lime content.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy, so it is capable of withstanding frosts to well below -15C.
– Water: Sanguisorba officinalis is not a thirsty plant, so normal, average garden watering is all that is required. The tough, rhizome-like root clump allows it to withstand variations in watering.
– Care: Easy growing, low maintenance plant. Therefore the only real annual work is to cut the spent foliage clump back at the end of autumn to tidy up (or you can leave it to early spring if you wish).
In addition for the low maintenance gardener, Sanguisorba officinalis is usually untroubled by any pests and diseases.
– Growth: Hardy perennial clump which has a lovely golden autumn colour change, is dormant over winter, before shooting again in the spring with lovely, refined ferny foliage, then flowering in summer-autumn with spectacular clouds of flowers.
– Beneficial for wildlife: The clouds of hundreds of flowers are very attractive to bees, butterflies and moths. They are always buzzing busy gathering nectar.
– Fragrance: Sadly none – but it has no other sins.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: While the flavour of Sanguisorba officinalis is tasty to humans, fortunately it is not particularly appealing to rabbits or deer.
Tasty kitchen herb
– Origin: Sanguisorba officinalis in its various forms occurs right across the northern hemisphere, including Asia, Europe, and North America. So indicating just what a hardy and adaptable plant Sanguisorba officinalis is.
– Edible kitchen uses: Sanguisorba officinalis has a long history of herbal and culinary use in Europe.
Where the young fresh leaves, with their cucumber-like flavour, have been used for centuries in salads, sandwiches and soups.
However herbalists usually warn against consuming Sanguisorba during pregnancy.
Though some organic farmers swear by it as a tonic for their cattle, and grow fields of it for winter fodder in Europe.
And an ancient medicine
– Traditional herbal uses: Sanguisorba officinalis has a long history of use in both traditional Chinese medicine and historic western practice. It was used as an astringent to staunch flow of fluids, and as a tonic for the blood. There has even been some 21st century research into HIV treatments that may indicate some anti-viral properties.
Named in blood
– Botanical name: The name of Sanguisorba officinalis comes from Latin. So “sanguis” means “blood”; “sorbeo”, means “to staunch”; and “officinalis” indicates use by medieval healers.