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

Saxifraga ferruginea Graham
Alaska saxifrage (russethair saxifrage)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #40612)

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Distribution of Saxifraga ferruginea
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from thick stem-bases and dense fibrous roots; flowering stems 1 or more, 15-35 cm tall, branched, soft-hairy below, glandular-hairy above.
Basal leaves in a rosette, oblanceolate to wedge-shaped, 2-10 cm long, 5-15 mm wide, 7- to 17-toothed, gradually tapered at base to winged stalks, somewhat fleshy, greyish-hairy, thin-hairy or sparsely fringed; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence open, diffuse, branched, the bracts leaf-like or greatly reduced and linear, the lower ones often with bulblets; petals white, curved to one side of flower, 4-6 mm long, of 2 types, 3 wider and egg-shaped with bases squared-off to heart-shaped, the other 2 more elliptic-lanceolate to broadly egg-shaped, the bases wedge-shaped; calyces nearly free of ovary, lobed almost to base, the lobes oblong-egg-shaped, 1.5-2.5 mm long, reddish or purplish, sharply bent back; stamens 10.
Capsules, 4-6 mm long; seeds brownish, about 0.7 mm long, with several lengthwise rows of pimples.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist rock outcrops, gravelly slopes and streambanks in the lowland to alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except absent in NE BC; N to AK and YT, E to AB and S to WY, ID and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to alpine, Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in water-shedding sites within alpine, tundra, boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Common but scattered in non-forested communities and open-canopy forests. Usually inhabits very shallow soils on rocks subjected to severe desiccation but often affected by temporary surface seepage. Frequently associated with Pleurozium schreberi, Rhacomitrium canescens, and lichens. Characteristic of early-seral 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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Saxifraga newcombei

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References