The Saxifraga genus are typically herbaceous perennials that have alternate or basal leaves that are roundish or oval in outline but usually lobed or coarsely toothed. The flowers are usually small individually but borne in large inflorescences. The most consistent character is that of two partially fused and partially inferior carpels in the pistil, usually contained inside a so called hypanthium formed from the base of the sepals. There are typically 5 sepal lobes, 5 distinct petals, and 5 or 10 stamens. As the name implies, many of the Saxifrages grow on rocks and cliffs, especially near water, and many are subalpine. Several of the species are grown in gardens.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Saxifraga
PLANTS UP TO 15 CM TALL. FLOWERS WHITE.
S. bronchialis Spotted Saxifrage Alpine, mat-forming, 5-15 cm tall. Dry, open rocky sites.
Flowers white, 10-15 mm wide, in open clusters. Petals spotted purple/yellow.
Leaves basal and alternate, rigid, 5-15 mm long, lance-shaped, spine-tipped.
PLANTS MOSTLY OVER 15 CM TALL. FLOWERS IN OPEN CLUSTERS.
S. odontoloma Brook Saxifrage Stem reddish-glandular, 20-60 cm tall. Wet meadows, springs, high elevations.
Flowers white, on wide branches. Petals round, with 2 yellow dots. Stamens flat.
Leaves basal, up to 6 cm wide, smooth, kidney-shaped, with 15-30 teeth.
PLANTS MOSTLY OVER 15 CM TALL. FLOWERS MOSTLY IN DENSE CLUSTERS.
S. rhomboidea Diamond-leaved Saxifrage Glandular stem, 10-20 cm tall. Moist, open slopes, foothills to alpine.
Flowers white, short-stalked, many in dense, ball-like heads.
Leaves basal, thick, diamond-shaped, short-stalked, with round-toothed edges.