Alaska Saxifrage – Micranthes ferruginea

Saxifrage Family – Saxifragaceae

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

Alaska Saxifrage is also called Rusty Saxifrage. The former Latin name for this flower was Saxifraga ferruginea.

Plant Description: Alaska Saxifrage is a perennial with 1 to several flowering stems that are 6 to 20 inches tall. The stems are glandular-hairy at the top with many, widely-spreading branches, each branchlet having one flower. The lower bracts make bulblets that produce new plantlets.  At the base of the plant is a rosette of 1 to 3 inch leaves, fleshy, wedge-shaped to spoon-shaped, with irregular, coarse, sharp teeth above the middle and hairs along the edges. The leaves are sometimes red-tinged.

Flower Description: The flowers are 1/2 inch across and stalked. The calyx is rusty colored. The white petals are of two types:  The 3 upper petals are broader, differently shaped and have 2 yellow spots on them; the 2 lower petals are more slender, more widely separated and usually do not have spots on them. There are 10 stamen with red anthers. When the ovary swells after fertilization, it becomes red and the petals fall off.

Ecology: Alaska Saxifrage is very common. It grows on moist, mossy outcrops, along stream banks, and on wet rocks and gravel from sea level to alpine.


  • Alaska Saxifrage sometimes mutates. I have found flowers with all five petals the same and others with six petals.
  • The genus of Alaska Saxifrage has recently been changed from Saxifrage to Micranthes. See the note below the gallery on the Saxifrage Family page and the “APG Changes” page for more information.