Sanguisorba officinalis ‘St Philibert’
Very fetching burgundy wine red drumsticks through summer and autumn, make Sanguisorba officinalis ‘St Philibert’ an elegant addition in any garden.
Burgundy red drumsticks in a summer haze
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘St Philibert’ is the medium height member of the family, at 60cm. on tip toes when in flower.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of the flower drumsticks, floating in a burgundy wine haze.
So the whole effect is fine, willowy and airy.
(Please see “Growing” section below for plant details, how & where to grow)
Ladders of grey-green foliage
Very pretty grey-green leaflets make elegant ladders of foliage, which are happily untroubled by slugs and snails, and help the lacy “see-through” look.
Elegant cut flowers
Bunches of the airy stems make excellent cut flowers, and last for ages in a vase.
Hardy & easy to grow
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘St Philbert’ grows from a thick rhizome type root base, giving it the toughness to withstand set-backs and overcome difficulties.
Growing: Sanguisorba officinalis ‘St Philibert’
– Height with flowers: Upright flower stems to approx. 60cm.
– Width: A graceful clump of ladder like foliage to approx. 60cm diameter.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade / Dappled Sun is all agreeable to unfussy Sanguisorba officinalis. Though some afternoon shade could be appreciated in very hot areas.
Suitable for seaside gardens.
Adapts to a wide range of conditions
– 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.
– 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.
The foliage has a mild, sweet celery like flavour. So you can chop young leaves fresh into salads and fruit, and use larger leaves cooked as greens or in soup.
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 in China, 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.