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

Saxifraga cespitosa L.
tufted saxifrage
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19911)

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Distribution of Saxifraga cespitosa
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Species Information

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Caespitose, perennial herb from branched stem-bases, often forming mats; numerous leafy branches, the flowering stems 3-15 cm tall, glandular-hairy.
Basal leaves usually 3-lobed, the lobes linear to lanceolate, narrowed to wide stalks, lightly glandular-fringed to soft-hairy, crowded on sterile shoots, 5-20 mm long; stem leaves 2 to 5, alternate, entire or lower ones lobed, reduced.
Inflorescence of terminal, 2- to 10-flowered, somewhat flat-topped clusters; petals creamy white, deciduous, egg-shaped to broadly wedge-shaped, 3.5-5.5 mm long, narrowed to a broad base or claw, the tips rounded, sometimes notched; calyces broadly bell-shaped, joined to ovary for about the same to 1/2 length of lobes, the free hypanthium absent, the calyx lobes 5, egg-shaped to oblong, 1-3 mm long, purplish, glandular-hairy, spreading; stamens 10.
Capsules, 5-10 mm long; seeds dark brown, egg-shaped, about 0.5 mm long, minutely pimpled.
A highly variable species complex in which many taxa have been described. Since there is no satisfactory treatment of even the North American representatives the recognition of the supposed taxa that occur in BC would serve little purpose here. For an alternative treatment see C.L. Hitchcock et al. (1961) or Scoggan (1978).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry, open gravelly areas, stream banks, cliffs, rocky slopes and ledges from the lowland to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except SC BC; circumpolar, N to AK and YT, E to NF and S to NM, AZ and CA; NE Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Saxifraga cespitosa

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 1729 2659
Slope Gradient (%) 0 23 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 250 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 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(7), BAFA(24), CDF(1), cma(1), ESSF(8), IMA(4), SWB(1)


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 caespitosa L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References