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

Micranthes nelsoniana D. Don
dotted saxifrage
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #4367)

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Distribution of Micranthes nelsoniana
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from branched stem-bases with rhizomes; flowering stems 10-30 cm tall, mostly smooth below, long-hairy above.
All basal, kidney-shaped, 1.0-7.7 cm wide, 1/2 to 4/5 as long, coarsely 7- to 21-toothed, the teeth up to 1 cm long, the leaves smooth, sparsely or stiff-hairy near the base, sometimes fringed, the stalks long, 1- to 5-times blade length.
Inflorescence a many-flowered, terminal, congested or open panicle with appressed or ascending hairs, the lowest branch often from leaf-like bracts; petals white to pink, 2.5-4 mm long, oblong, the tips rounded to notched, slightly clawed, deciduous; calyces lobed nearly to base, slightly joined to the base of the ovary, free hypanthium absent, the lobes egg-shaped to narrowly egg-shaped, 1-2 mm long, green to purplish, fringed, bent back; stamens 10.
Capsules; 3-12 mm long, purplish, tips spreading to bent; seeds brown, about 0.8 mm long, ridged lengthwise with pimples.
Four intergrading subspecies occur in BC.

1. Largest leaves mostly with 9 to12 teeth; capsules 6-12 mm long; plants of the Queen Charlotte Islands, adjacent mainland and Coast Mountains of NW BC.................... ssp. carlottae (Calder & Savile) Hult.

1. Largest leaves mostly with 12 to 18 teeth; capsules 3-8 mm long; plants of mainland BC.

2. Panicles open, the hairs appressed; plants slender; plants of SW BC..................... ssp. cascadensis (Calder & Savile) Hult.

2. Panicles often congested, the hairs ascending; plants robust; plants of N BC and the Rocky Mountains.

3. Largest leaves 2.3-7.7 cm wide, slightly fringed and stiff-hairy near the leaf stalks; capsule cleft 25-60%; plants of NW BC ...........................ssp. pacifica (Hult.) Hult.

3. Largest leaves 1.0-3.8 cm wide, smooth or sparsely hairy; capsule cleft 40-75%; plants of N BC north of 56degreeN........................... ssp. porsildiana (Calder & Savile) Hult.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist rock outcrops, scree, meadows and streambanks from the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC; ssp. carlottae - N to SE AK; ssp. cascadensis - S to OR; ssp. pacifica - amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT; NE Asia; ssp. porsildiana - amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT and E to AB; NE Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Micranthes nelsoniana

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) 5 1481 2200
Slope Gradient (%) 0 19 110
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 353 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 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(2), BAFA(45), cma(1), CWH(6), ESSF(31), ICH(3), IDF(2), MH(14), MS(9), 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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References