E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Saxifraga cernua L.
nodding saxifrage
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #21025)

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Distribution of Saxifraga cernua
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from dense, fibrous roots; one or more simple flowering stems 10-25 cm tall, glandular-hairy.
Basal leaves kidney-shaped, 10-25 mm wide, 5- to 7-lobed, long-stalked, the stalks slender, with purple bulblets in the axils; stem leaves several, alternate, lower ones similar to the basal leaves, upper ones reduced, bract-like, with purple bulblets in axils.
Inflorescence a solitary, terminal flower or lacking, 1 or 2 of the lowermost flowers replaced by purplish bulblets; petals white, deciduous, egg-shaped to wedge egg-shaped, 5-12 mm long, the tips notched; calyces broadly bell-shaped, 3-4.5 mm long, dark green to purplish, joined to ovary for part of length, the free hypanthium absent, the calyx lobes 5, egg-shaped to lanceolate, 2.5- to 4-times length of joined portion of calyx, spreading; stamens 10.
Capsules, rarely developing.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist streambanks, screes slopes and ledges in the alpine zone; common in BC in and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, except absent in SC BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to Labr. and PQ and S to NH, MN, SD, NM, UT, NV and WA; Iceland; N Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Saxifraga cernua

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1360 2047 2610
Slope Gradient (%) 0 33 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 255 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(5), BAFA(20), cma(1), ESSF(7), IMA(4), SWB(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Saxifraga cernua var. exilioides Polunin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References