Saxifraga cespitosa L.
tufted saxifrage
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #19911)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Saxifraga cespitosa
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Species Information

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).

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1729 7 2659
Slope Gradient (%)
23 0 100

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

250 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 1 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Saxifraga caespitosa L.