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

Chrysosplenium tetrandrum (Lund ex Malmgr.) Th. Fr.
northern golden-saxifrage (golden carpet; northern golden saxifrage)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #29855)

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Distribution of Chrysosplenium tetrandrum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender stolons; stems succulent, ascending to erect, to 15 cm long, with erect portions to 10 cm tall, 2- or 3-branched near tips, trailing shoots (stolons) leafy.
Basal leaves round to kidney-shaped, 5-10 (12) mm wide, shallowly 3- to 7-lobed, not noticeably veined, sometimes sparsely hairy above near sinuses, the stalks 1-2 cm long, smooth; stem leaves 1 to 4, egg- to nearly kidney-shaped, shallowly lobed, smooth.
Inflorescence terminal, of clusters of 3 to 10 flowers, the flowers top-shaped, 2-3 mm across; bracts green but often purple-dotted, egg-shaped, slightly lobed to entire; petals lacking; calyces joined to lower half of ovaries (the hypanthium), the lobes 4, oval, erect, mostly green, sometimes tinged with purple, obscurely 1-veined, triangular to egg-shaped, 1 mm long and about as wide, the two pairs alike; stamens 4 (3), opposite sepals; styles 0.2-0.3 mm long, the disk absent.
Capsules, the free portion 2-lobed, top- to bell-shaped; seeds smooth, 0.6-0.8 mm long, light reddish-brown.
Included by some authors in C. alternifolium L., but it is quite distinct (Packer 1991).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet shady banks, rock crevices, mossy seeps, and shorelines in the montane and subalpine zones; common throughout N and E BC, infrequent south to 51degreeN in the Coast/Cascade Mountains; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to N PQ and Labr. and S to WA, disjunct in CO; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Chrysosplenium tetrandrum

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) 250 1047 1730
Slope Gradient (%) 0 6 63
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 323 341
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 6 8
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: BAFA(2), BWBS(3), CWH(1), ESSF(7), ICH(7), MH(1), MS(3), SBPS(4), SBS(20), SWB(3)


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 alpine tundra & boreal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Chrysosplenium alternifolium subsp. tetrandrum (Lund ex Malmgr.) Hultén
Chrysosplenium alternifolium var. tetrandrum Lund ex Malmgr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References