Page author: David Giblin
Saxifraga cespitosa
tufted alpine saxifrage, tufted saxifrage

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to south California, east to the Rocky Mountains; east across Canada to the Atlantic Coast.

Habitat: Ledges, gravelly ridges and scree, near sea level to alpine.

Flowers: April-September

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Apomixis, bees, flies


Tufted, mat-form perennial with numerous short, leafy branches, the flowering stems erect, 3-15 cm. tall, glandular-pubescent.


Leaves with 3 linear to lanceolate lobes, narrowed to broad petioles, somewhat papery, crowded on the sterile shoots; cauline leaves 2-5 below the inflorescence, entire to 3-lobed.


Flowers 2-10 in a loose terminal cluster, the pedicels up to 5 cm. long with 1-3 bractlets; calyx top-shaped to bell-shaped, 2.5-5.5 mm. long, the 5 deltoid to ovate lobes shorter than the tubular portion; petals 5, white, deciduous, oblanceolate to obovate, 2-4 times as long as the calyx lobes, rounded to slightly notched, narrowed to a broad base; stamens 10, the filaments slender.


Ovary mostly inferior, capsule 5-7 mm. long; carpels 2.

Accepted Name:
Saxifraga cespitosa L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 404. 1753. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Muscaria caespitosa (L.) Haw., orthographic variant
Saxifraga caespitosa L., orthographic variant [HC, KZ99]
Saxifraga caespitosa L. ssp. caespitosa, orthographic variant [KZ99]
Saxifraga caespitosa L. ssp. eucaespitosa Engl. & Irmsch., orthographic variant
Saxifraga caespitosa L. var. emarginata (Small) Rosend., orthographic variant [HC]
Saxifraga caespitosa L. var. lemmonii Engl. & Irmsch., orthographic variant
Saxifraga caespitosa L. var. minima Blank., orthographic variant [HC]
Saxifraga caespitosa L. var. subgemmifera (Engl. & Irmsch.) C.L. Hitchc., orthographic variant [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Saxifraga cespitosa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Saxifraga cespitosa checklist entry

OregonFlora: Saxifraga cespitosa information

E-Flora BC: Saxifraga cespitosa atlas page

CalPhotos: Saxifraga cespitosa photos

57 photographs:
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