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

Leptarrhena pyrolifolia (D. Don) R. Br. ex Ser.
leatherleaf saxifrage (fireleaf leptarrhena)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #81274)

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Distribution of Leptarrhena pyrolifolia
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from spreading, horizontal or ascending rhizomes; stems erect, 10-40 cm tall, glandular-hairy above.
Basal leaves leathery, narrowly egg-shaped to elliptic, 3-15 cm long, round-toothed, narrowed at base to a short, broad stalk less than 1/2 length of blade, deep green and shining above, pale green or brownish below, smooth; stem leaves 1 to 3, widely separated, smaller, unstalked, mostly oblong-oblanceolate; stipules membranous, fused to the leaf stalks.
Inflorescence terminal, of several, many-flowered clusters, compact at first, expanding in fruit; petals white or pinkish, 5, clawed, blades spoon-shaped, up to twice length of sepals; calyces deeply saucer-shaped, 2-3 mm wide, joined to ovary only at the base, the free hypanthium lacking; calyx lobes 5, erect, about 1 mm long; stamens 10.
Follicles, 2, 5-7 mm long, reddish or purplish; seeds light brown, 2-3.5 mm, tailed at both ends.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet streambanks and meadows in the montane to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except absent in the NE; N to AK, YT and NT, E to AB and S to MT, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Leptarrhena pyrolifolia

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) 7 1528 2510
Slope Gradient (%) 0 12 98
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 331 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 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: AT(11), BAFA(12), BWBS(6), CMA(5), CWH(20), ESSF(545), ICH(27), IDF(3), IMA(3), MH(71), MS(10), PP(1), SBS(13)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, subalpine, Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in alpine tundra and subalpine boreal climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen-medium soils. Common in non-forested, semi-terrestrial (stream­edge, spring, and intermittent stream), and meadow-like communities on water-receiving (flooded) sites. Usually associated with Caltha leptosepala, Petasites frigidus, and Philonotis fontana. Characteristic of alpine and subalpine communities.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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

Lepuropetalon amplexifolium (Sternb.) Ser.
Saxifraga amplexifolia Sternb.
Saxifraga calycina subsp. unalaschcensis (Sternb.) HultTn
Saxifraga davurica var. unalaschcensis (Sternb.) Engl.
Saxifraga pyrolifolia D. Don
Saxifraga unalaschcensis Sternb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References