E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sanguisorba canadensis L.
Sitka burnet (Canada burnet; Canadian burnet)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11454)

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Distribution of Sanguisorba canadensis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a stout rhizome, smooth; stems erect to ascending, 25-120 cm tall, sometimes branched above.
Basal leaves several, 10-50 cm long, pinnately compound, with stipules fused to base of long leaf-stalks and forming membranous margins; leaflets 7 to 17, egg-shaped to oblong, 2-7 cm long, coarsely saw-toothed; stem leaves alternate, 1 to 3, reduced, with free leaflet-like stipules.
Inflorescence a dense, cylindric, long-stalked spike, sometimes tapering at the top, of numerous small flowers, the spike 3-13 cm long; corollas absent; calyces greenish- or yellowish-white, sometimes purplish tinged at the tip, 4-lobed, the lobes oval, 2.5-3 mm long; ovaries superior; stamens 4, the filaments somewhat dilated above, at least 3 times as long as the calyx-lobes.
Achenes, enclosed in the 4-angled, slightly winged hypanthium.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Fens, swamps, streambanks, moist to wet meadows, forest openings and seepage areas in the montane to lower alpine zones; common in much of BC, absent in NE, SC and SE BC; N to AK, E to NF and S to NC, DE, OR and ID.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Asian and trans-continental North American forb. Species occurs on very moist to wet soils. Widespread but scattered on water-receiving and water-collecting sites in boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Most common in non-forested semiĀ­terrestrial, often Sphagnum-dominated communities. Characteristic of wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Sanguisorba canadensis subsp. latifolia (Hook.) Calder & Roy L. Taylor
Sanguisorba canadensis var. latifolia Hook.
Sanguisorba sitchensis C.A. Mey.
Sanguisorba stipulata Raf.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References