Western Saxifrage – Micranthes occidentalis

Saxifrage Family – Saxifragaceae

Actual flower size: 1/3 inch across

Actual flower size: 1/3 inch across

The former name for Western Saxifrage was Saxifraga occidentalis.

Plant Description: Western Saxifrage is a 3 to 10 inches tall perennial with basal rosette of 3 to 5 leaves. The flowering stem is leafless, reddish, hairy on the lower half and glandular hairy above, often branched, with a loose, pyramid of flowers at the top. The leaves have short reddish, broad stems and are leathery, coarsely toothed, 1 to 3 inches long, often reddish on the underside.

Flower Description: The flowers are 1/3 inch across. The petals are oval, white , and usually without spots. There are 10 stamens, somewhat club-shaped, with orange anthers.  The 2 carpels are almost completely separated.

Ecology: Western Saxifrage grows in moist to dry openings in prairies, meadows, or rocky outcrops, with moss or grass, from near sea level to subalpine.


  • The genus of Western 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.
  • Western Saxifrage is a variable species with several named varieties, which are sometimes listed as separate species.  Some of the photos may be of Rusty-haired Saxifrage (Micranthes rufidula). I would appreciate help in identifying them.