This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Those who have searched for this plant have failed as yet to meet with seeds in Glacial or other beds. The distribution to-day shows that it is a plant of the N. Temperate Zone found in Europe, N. Africa, N. and W. Asia, and the Himalayas. It is widely dispersed, but local in Great Britain; thus it is found in the whole of the Channel, Thames, Anglia, and Severn provinces. It is only found in N. Wales in Denbigh, Flint, and Anglesea, but throughout the Trent, Mersey, Humber, and Tyne provinces, though not in the Isle of Man; and in Scotland, not in Ayr in the W. Lowlands, Selkirk and Berwick in E. Lowlands; in E. and W. Highlands it occurs generally except in Mid Ebudes; in the N. Highlands, except in W. Ross and W. Sutherland. It is not found in the Orkneys in the Northern Isles. It ascends to 1600 ft. in Yorks, and in E. Scotland extends from Perth to Berwick. It is rare in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Salad Burnet is a hill-side plant, fond especially of chalky districts, but growing elsewhere where lime abounds with Dyer's Weed, Musk Mallow, Dropwort, Field Scabious, Cotton Thistle, Wild Thyme, Sheep's Sorrel, Box, Musk Orchis, etc.
Suberect and branched, the stems are numerous, subangular, and reddish, with leaves, with leaflets each side of a common stalk, which when bruised smell and taste like cucumber. The stipules or leaflike organs are toothed.
In the upper part of the flowerhead are female florets, in the lower male, and in the centre both, the upper pistils being crimson, the stamens below pendulous, and red with yellow anthers. The calyx is square with membraneous sepals. The florets are in small, green, rounded heads. The fruit is an achene.
The height of the plant is about 2 ft. Flowers can be found in July. It is a perennial plant, and increased by root division.
This is one of the anemophilous flowers whose pollen is wind-dispersed. There are some male florets below, some female above, some hermaphrodite in the centre. There is no honey. The stamens are numerous. The numerous, long, thread-like stigmas and anthers project from the flower, the anthers on long, thin, white, yellow, or red pendulous anther-stalks. Odynerus parietum and some few flies settle on it.
The 1-seeded achenes or fruits, 1-3, are enclosed in the hollow, 4-winged calyx-tube or winged receptacle, and are thus dispersed by the wind. When there are 3 achenes they are triangular.