Poterium Species, Japanese Burnet

Poterium obtusum

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Poterium (pot-ER-ee-um) (Info)
Species: obtusum (ob-TOO-sum) (Info)
Synonym:Sanguisorba argutidens
Synonym:Sanguisorba canadensis var. media
Synonym:Sanguisorba obtusa



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Georgia

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Helena, Montana

Ithaca, New York

West Kill, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Kalama, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 31, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I am a great fan of sanguisorbas. The cultivar I have is a somewhat darker shade of pink and has been thriving near a gate from my garden into a meadow, near a wellhead.-moist heavy clay. I have several other sanguisorbas, the commonly sold garden burnet --which is usually sold as an herb, and a great burnet that has similar leaves, but less tassle-like heads and a garnet colored flower. The great burnet is still flowering in late October in my Catskill garden and makes a very pretty dried flower. The leaves of both the great Burnet and the Japanese (obtusa) are rather fern-like and very handsome. The regular salad burnet is also handsome, but less graceful as it forms a low-growing mophead. At one point, when I went to move the great burnet, I broke off the very deep taproot accidentally.... read more


On Oct 28, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

A very tough, unusual plant. I have two in the center of my garden in a rather wet spot. One does extremely well and the other, not quite so well - it comes back each year at about 1/2 the size it should. I have tried to move these but have not been able to get down far enough to remove the root ball! The soil is so wet that only major power digging would accomplish the feat - so I've decided to leave them as is. They've lived through even one of the wettest seasons on record!

The flowers look similar to a bottle brush and are med pink fading to light pink and finally brown. If you keep deadheaded it flowers from mid summer through early fall. Not the most beautiful of plants, but it does occasionally make a head turn.