Saxifraga Sp.- Saxifrage

Family: Saxifrage - Saxifragaceae Family

"Plant generally ± hairy, often glandular; caudex or rhizome generally not woody, generally scaly.
Leaf: blade obovate to round, base tapered to reniform or cordate, margin lobed.
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle; flowers 1–many; bracts scale-like.
Flower: hypanthium free or ± fused to ovary; [petals sometimes spotted]; stamens 10, filaments generally flat; pistil 1, ovary superior to ± inferior (sometimes more superior in fruit), chambers 2, placentas 2, axile, styles 2, free throughout.
Fruit: capsule.
± 300 species: cool northern temperate, boreal, arctic. (Latin: rock-breaking) Saxifraga stolonifera W. Curtis cultivated only. Other taxa in TJM (1993) moved to Cascadia, Micranthes." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Saxifraga bronchialis - yellowdot saxifrage [E-flora]
  2. Saxifraga cespitosa - tufted saxifrage [E-flora]
  3. Saxifraga ferruginea - Alaska saxifrage [E-flora]
  4. Saxifraga hyperborea - pygmy saxifrage [E-flora]
  5. Saxifraga integrifolia - grassland saxifrage [E-flora]
  6. Saxifraga lyallii - red-stemmed saxifrage [E-flora]
  7. Saxifraga mertensiana - wood saxifrage [E-flora]
  8. Saxifraga occidentalis - western saxifrage [E-flora]
  9. Saxifraga odontoloma - stream saxifrage [E-flora]
  10. Saxifraga oppositifolia - purple mountain saxifrage [E-flora]
  11. Saxifraga rufidula - rusty-haired saxifrage [E-flora]
  12. Saxifraga taylorii - Taylor's Saxifrage [E-flora]
  13. Saxifraga tolmiei - Tolmie's saxifrage [E-flora]
  14. Saxifraga tridactylites - Rue-leaved saxifrage [E-flora]

Other Species

  1. Saxifraga nelsoniana - Heart-leaved saxifrage


"Saxifraga cespitosa; Moist to dry, open gravelly areas, stream banks, cliffs, rocky slopes and ledges from the lowland to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except SC BC; circumpolar, N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to NM, AZ and CA; NE Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga ferruginea; Moist rock outcrops, gravelly slopes and streambanks in the lowland to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except absent in NE BC; N to AK and YT, E to AB and S to WY, ID and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga hyperborea; Moist to wet rock outcrops, gravelly slopes, streambanks and talus slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; frequent throughout BC except absent from the Queen Charlotte Islands; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NH, NM, AZ and CA; Iceland, N Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga integrifolia; Moist to dry grassy slopes, meadows and rock outcrops in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in SW BC south of 52degreeN; S to MT and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga lyallii; Moist to wet streambanks, seepage sites, meadows and gravelly slopes in the montane to alpine zones; frequent throughout all but extreme NE BC; var. hulteni - amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and SW NT, E Asia, var. lyallii - E to AB and S to MT, ID and WA." "Hybridizes extensively with S. odontoloma in S BC." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga mertensiana; Moist streambanks, ledges and rock outcrops from the lowland and steppe to subalpine zones; frequent in BC south of 55degreeN, rare in NW BC (Haines Triangle); N to S AK, E to AB and S to MT, ID and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga occidentalis; Moist to dry meadows and gravelly slopes from the montane to alpine zones; common throughout most of BC to 59degreeN, absent from NE BC and the coastal islands; E to AB and S to SD, NM, ID, NV and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga odontoloma; "Wet streambanks and moist shady places in the montane and subalpine zones; frequent in SW BC, rare northward; E to AB and S to NM, AZ and CA." Notes: Hybridizes extensively with S. lyallii in S BC." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga oppositifolia; Moist to mesic meadows fellfields, slopes and rock outcrops in the upper subalpine and alpine zones; frequent throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NH, VT, WY, ID and OR; Iceland; N Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga rufidula; Moist to dry rock outcrops in the lowland to alpine zones; frequent on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, rare on the adjacent mainland; S to WA, OR and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga taylorii; Moist rock outcrops, talus slopes and cliffs in the subalpine and alpine zones; rare in the Queen Charlotte Islands, and NW Vancouver Island; endemic." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga tolmiei; Moist rock outcrops, streambanks, snowbed sites and scree slopes in the upper subalpine and alpine zones; frequent in the Coast-Cascade Mountains N to 57degreeN and Vancouver Island, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands and in E BC; N to SE AK and S toMT, ID, NV and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga tridactylites; Dry rock outcrops and walls; rare in SW BC, known only from Fort Rodd Hill (Victoria); introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"Saxifraga ferruginea; A shade-intolerant, submontane to alpine, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in water-shedding sites within alpine, tundra, boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Common but scattered in non-forested communities and open-canopy forests. Usually inhabits very shallow soils on rocks subjected to severe desiccation but often affected by temporary surface seepage. Frequently associated with Pleurozium schreberi, Rhacomitrium canescens, and lichens. Characteristic of early-seral communities." [IPBC-E-flora]

"Saxifraga tolmiei; A very shade-intolerant, subalpine to alpine, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime alpine tundra and subalpine boreal climates on very moist to wet exposed mineral soils. Common in sparsely vegetated , non-forested snow-patch communities on unstable sheet-wash slopes or hamada-like surfaces; often associated with graminoids. Characteristic of alpine communities." [IPBC-E-flora]

Species Mentioned;

S.spicata, S. punctata, S.mertensiana. The genus as a whole is quite safe. [????]

Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

S. ferruginea; Drug-Bella Coola Urinary Aid Decoction of root and leaf taken for "strangulation of the bladder." (as S. bongardi 150:58) [NAEth Moerman]

Leaves: Used to treat scurvy. Fresh leaves are high in Vitamins A and C. Used historically to treat kidney stones in the urinary tract. In China, some species are employed in treatment of nausea and ear infections. Chinese also burn dry saxifrage leaves and use the smoke or steam to shrink swollen hemorrhoids. Medicinal use of our regional species has little documentation. [????]

Smoke: Saxifraga stolonifera - creeping saxifrage; In China, smoke from burning dried plant material was used as a fumigant to treat hemorrhoids (Bliss 1973; Perry 1980). [UAPDS]

Saxifraga ligulata; "Part Used: Rhizome Habitat: Found in temperate the areas of the Himalayas, from Bhutan to Kashmir and the Khassia Mountains. Energetics: Astringent, sweet-cold-sweet PK-V+ Tissues: Plasma, fat, female reproductive Systems: Female reproductive, urinary Action: Astringent, demulcent, diuretic, lithotriptic Uses: Best herb for dissolving uric acid, urinary stones/gravel (especially phosphate; also oxalate); cough, diarrhea, safer (less irritating) diuretic, fevers, vaginal diseases, Váyu tumors, pulmonary teething irritation, scurvy, tumors, enlarged prostate. External —paste for boils. Precautions: Amenorrhea Preparation: Decoction, powder, paste" [Tirta Ayurveda]

Uses of other Saxifrage Sp


"The most highly galloylated proanthocyanidin oligomers... , have been obtained from Saxifraga stolonifera, a popular folk medicine in Japan." [Chu PP] "Although condensed tannins (proanthocyanidins) distribute widely in herbal and woody plants, the distribution of their congeners, highly galloylated at 0-3 of epicatechin units, is limited to the plants of several orders. (-)-Epicatechin gallate dimer (LV), trimer (LVI) and tetramer (LVII) were found in Saxifraga stolonifera, a folk medicine for earache and painful hemorrhoids in Japan (45)..." [Huang Phenolic 2]



Page last modified on Sunday, May 26, 2019 11:01 PM