Tufted Saxifrage – Saxifraga cespitosa

Saxifrage Family – Saxifragaceae

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

Actual flower size: 1/2 inch across

Plant Description: Tufted Saxifrage is a 6-inch tall perennial. The flowering stem is glandular hairy with one leaf half way up and a loose cluster of 2 to 10 flowers at the top. The wedge-shaped leaves are divided into 3 to 5 narrow lobes and grow in whorls up short stems, creating a mat of rosettes. The leaves are often bright green and short-haired, with the hairs mainly on the margins.

Flower Description: The flowers are 1/2 inch across. The 5 wedge-shaped sepals are joined for about half their length, forming a green or purple cup with shallow lobes.  The petals are about 1/4 inch long, white or creamy, nearly round, sometimes slightly notched, with a narrow base, and sometimes clawed.  There are 10 slender stamens. The ovary is mostly inferior.

Ecology: Tufted Saxifrage grows on damp rocky slopes, cliffs, from sea level to alpine elevations.

Note: Tufted Saxifrage is wide ranging and highly variable. This photo shows a flower before it is fully opened.