Saxifraga Mertensiana
(Merten’s Saxifrage)
[(Pursh) DC.]

Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Rosales
Family: Saxifragaceae
Family Description: Saxifrage

Key Characteristics:
Also known as Wood Saxifrage
  • The leaves are simple with petioles four times longer than the reniform or orbicular leaf blades.
  • At the base of the petioles are membranous, well developed, fused stipules.
  • The basal leaves often have small bulblets in their axils.
  • The 3-10 cm diameter leaf blades are coarsely toothed and are usually hirsute on the lower surface.
  • The numerous flowers are in open, loose panicles which have some flowers replaced with small bulblets;
  • The five-parted, reflexed calyx is only basally fused;
  • The claw-shaped, white petals remain on the plant after withering;
  • The stamens have white filaments, with club-shaped, pink anthers sacs and are equal in length to the petals;
  • There is a yellow nectary between the stamens and ovary;
  • the ovary is barely inferior and is terminated by two conical-shaped styles 1-2 mm long;
  • The pistil is composed of 2-3 carpels and develops into a capsule fruit about 5 mm long;
  • the fusiform, wrinkled, light-brown, 1 mm long seeds bear a wing-like raphe.

General Description:
Herbaceous perennial arising from short stout rhizomes forming clumps; the 1.5-4 dm tall pubescent, purplish-glandular flowering stems are succulent and often brittle.

Southern Alaska southward to northwestern California and central Sierra Nevada from the Cascade mountains to the Pacific Coast eastward through British Columbia to northwest Montana southwestward through cental Idaho and northeastern Oregon.

Merten’s Saxifrage grows at lowland elevations up to montane communities. It is usually found in moist places such as stream banks.

There is much variability within this species, some having some flowers replaced by pink bulblets and others having only flowers with no bulblets.

Important State References:
No information available at this time.
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002