Saxifrages

Coralbells Common Londonpride Fringecups Meadow Saxifrage

What are they?

Members of the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae) are perhaps best known as small, tussock-forming plants, often with slightly succulent leaves and inhabiting mountainous regions; such plants are frequently grown as garden rockery plants. In contrast, our native saxifrages are less tussock-forming, but similar in the appearance of their flowers. The family also includes a number of other plants that are rather dissimilar in appearance and it can be difficult to sum up the features of members of this group easily but for their five-petalled flowers with often may have spots on them or may have fringed petal margins.

Where are they found?

This is a diverse family and as such, the species are found in a range of habitats - which may help with identification. Most species in our region, however are escapes from cultivation and as such ae likely to be found in a range of urban or suburban habitats. The native Meadow Saxifrage is often considered to be an indicator plant of good quality, unimproved grassland.

Identification

Typical saxifrages can be told by their slightly succulent leaves and white or pink flowers that may have darker spots on the petals (some other species in cultivation have yellow flowers and may turn up as garden escapes). Other members of the family are very diverse in appearance which can be useful in making identification a little easier. Most species can readily be identified by a combination of the petal colour (and presence or absence of spots or fringed margins on the petals) and the appearance of the leaves.



Meadow Saxifrage      Saxifraga granulata

Native in unimproved grasslands on chalky or neutral soils. Less common than formerly but still widespread on grassy banks, along railways and roadsides and in well-managed churchyards. Flowers April to June. Leaves present over winter but disappear for a while after flowering.

Meadow Saxifrage Meadow Saxifrage Meadow Saxifrage Meadow Saxifrage
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaves


Rue-leaved Saxifrage      Saxifraga tridactylites

Native on light, chalky or sandy soils. Most common in Breckland but also scattered through West Norfolk and along the coastal regions. Also occurs quite widely in larger urban areas, growing on walls and in cracks in pavements. Flowers April to June. Leaves succulent, mostly three-lobed and with glandular hairs. A tiny, annual plant, typically to just a few centimetres in height and not forming perennial leaf rosettes.

Rue-leaved Saxifrage Rue-leaved Saxifrage Rue-leaved Saxifrage Rue-leaved Saxifrage
Habit
Habit
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Leaf


Hybrid Mossy Saxifrage      Saxifraga 'Arendsii'

Introduced and of garden origin. Recorded from a grassy bank near houses in North Norfolk. Flowers April to June. Leaves slightly succulent, mostly three-lobed and with non-glandular hairs. A perennial plant, that forms dense tufts of leaf rosettes.

Hybrid Mossy Saxifrage Hybrid Mossy Saxifrage Hybrid Mossy Saxifrage Hybrid Mossy Saxifrage
Habit
Flower
Leaves
Leaf


Common Londonpride      Saxifraga x urbium

A hybrid of garden origin. Recorded from a handful of locations throughout the region as a garden escape. Flowers May to July. Leaves slightly succulent, with a few marginal hairs. A perennial plant, that forms loose, spreading leaf rosettes.

Common Londonpride Common Londonpride Common Londonpride Common Londonpride
Habit
Flower
Leaves
Leaf


Indian-rhubarb      Darmera peltata

Introduced from Asia as a garden ornamental. Rare as an escape or garden throw-out on damp ground at Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich. Flowers May. Spreads from a creeping root to form extensive patches. Flowers appear well before the leaves, pushing up from below ground on long, upright stalks. Leaves appear after the flowers, growing up to 40cm in diameter before dieing down again in the autumn.

Indian-rhubarb Indian-rhubarb Indian-rhubarb Indian-rhubarb
Habit
Flower spike
Flowers close-up
Leaf


Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage      Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

Native. Strangely local in East Anglia but can be common where it occurs on wet banks, seepages and streamsides in shady places in the upper reaches of Norfolk's main rivers and in southeast Suffolk, southward into Essex. Flowers April to July. Forms creeping mats of low vegetation with the tiny yellow flowers appearing amongst yellow, leaf-like bracts. Leaves slightly succulent, arranged in opposite pairs on the stems and with finely tipped teeth along their edges.

Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage
Habit
Flowers
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Leaves opposite


Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage      Chrysosplenium alternifolium

Native. Local and very uncommon on wet banks, seepages and streamsides in shady places in the upper reaches of Norfolk's main rivers and in southeast Suffolk, southward into Essex. Flowers April to July. Forms creeping mats of low vegetation with the tiny yellow flowers appearing amongst yellow, leaf-like bracts. Leaves slightly succulent, arranged alternately on the stems and with broadly squared lobes that resemble a pie crust.

Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage
Habit
Flowers
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Leaves alternate


Coralbells      Heuchera sanguinea

Introduced from North America and recorded as a garden escape from discarded garden waste. Flowers June to August. Flowers bright red in an upright spike.

Coralbells Coralbells Coralbells Coralbells
Habit
Flowers
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Leaf


Fringecups      Tellima grandiflora

Introduced from North America and recorded as a garden escape from discarded garden waste. Flowers April to May. Flowers with distinctive, deeply fringed petals that are curled strongly backwards.

Fringecups Fringecups Fringecups Fringecups
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Flowers
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