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Poterium sanguisorba
Poterium sanguisorba

Poterium sanguisorba

Poterium sanguisorba

Poterium sanguisorba. Synonym: Sanguisorba minor. (Burnet)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Foothills, montane. Meadows, shrublands. Summer.
Above and Left: Sanborn Park Road, Uncompahgre National Forest, May 31, 2013 and
Hawkins Preserve, Cortez, May 17, 2015.

Poterium sanguisorba was introduced to the northern hemisphere from Euro-Asia for erosion control. Fortunately its slow growth rate has kept it from becoming a nuisance species in the United States.

Poterium sanguisorba is a perennial, growing to over 2 feet tall with basal leaves 2-8 inches long and stem leaves reduced in size.

One is certainly first attracted to Poterium sanguisorba by its ball-head spike of strange flowers -- attractively red filamentary. Male and female floral parts are separate, with the lower flowers usually staminate and the upper flowers usually pistillate but sometimes perfect. The flowers have 4 broad, petal-like sepals; true petals are absent.

In 1753 Linnaeus named the Poterium genus and he named this species Poterium sanguisorba. Scopoli renamed the species Sanguisorba minor in 1772.

"Poterium" is Greek for "drinking cup"; "sanguisorba" is Latin for "absorbs blood" (from bygone notions about the medicinal value of this plant); and "muricatum" is Latin for "pointed".

Poterium sanguisorba

Poterium sanguisorba. Synonym: Sanguisorba minor. (Burnet)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Foothills, montane. Meadows, shrublands. Summer.
Sanborn Park Road, Uncompahgre National Forest, May 31, 2013.

Leaves are divided into 9-17 oval leaflets each of which has serrated edges.

Note the red tinges to both the main stems and the rachis (the stem of the leaflets).

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Poterium sanguisorba

Range map for Poterium sanguisorba