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London Pride

Saxifraga urbium

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Gardens, rocky places, towns.

White, 5 petals
Small white star-shaped flowers which are often flushed pink, up to 1cm, growing in clusters on long stalks.
A capsule.
Long-stalked and spoon-shaped leaves. Serrated margins.
Other Names:
London Saxifrage, Look Up and Kiss Me, Prattling Parnell, St Patrick's Cabbage, Whimsey.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Saxifraga urbium, also known as London pride or London saxifrage, is a species of perennial flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its small, star-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring and summer, and can be pink, white or red. The plant has green rosettes of leaves, and it can grow up to 6 inches in height. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. Saxifraga urbium is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also used in rock gardens and as a ground cover. It is a hardy plant and is well suited to growing in urban areas, hence the name "urbium" which means "of the city" in Latin.


London Pride, also known as Saxifraga urbium, is a beautiful plant that has long been associated with the city of London. This small, delicate plant is a member of the saxifrage family, and is commonly found growing in the crevices of old walls and in other urban environments.

The name "London Pride" is said to have originated from the fact that the plant was often seen growing in abundance along the walls of London's ancient buildings. It is a hardy plant that can withstand the harsh conditions of city life, and has become an enduring symbol of resilience and strength.

The plant itself is quite small, usually growing to a height of no more than six inches. It has bright green, slightly fleshy leaves, and in the spring and summer months it produces small, delicate pink or white flowers that bloom in clusters atop thin stems.

Despite its diminutive size, London Pride has been an important part of London's cultural and literary history. The plant has been featured in countless works of literature and poetry, including the writings of William Shakespeare, who famously referred to the plant as "pride of primroses."

In addition to its cultural significance, London Pride has also been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and even toothache.

Today, London Pride remains an important symbol of the city and its history. The plant can still be found growing in abundance along the walls of many of London's oldest buildings, and it continues to inspire and captivate visitors from all over the world.

London Pride is also known by several other names, including St. Patrick's Cabbage, Whimsey, and Look-Up-And-Kiss-Me. The plant is sometimes called St. Patrick's Cabbage because it is said to have been brought to Ireland by St. Patrick, who used the plant to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

In addition to its cultural and historical significance, London Pride also has practical uses in gardening and landscaping. The plant is often used in rock gardens, as it can thrive in the harsh, rocky conditions that are typically found in these types of gardens. London Pride can also be used as a groundcover or as a border plant, adding a touch of delicate beauty to any landscape.

Despite its hardiness, London Pride is not without its challenges. The plant is vulnerable to several diseases, including powdery mildew and leaf spot, which can cause the leaves to yellow and drop off. Additionally, London Pride is susceptible to damage from slugs and snails, which can eat the leaves and flowers.

Despite these challenges, London Pride remains a beloved and enduring symbol of London. The plant's delicate beauty and hardy spirit are a testament to the resilience of the city and its people, and serve as a reminder of the power of nature to thrive in even the most challenging of environments.

London Pride has also been used in folklore and superstitions. According to an old tradition, if a man offered a sprig of London Pride to a woman and she accepted it, she was obliged to kiss him. This is where the plant's nickname "Look-Up-And-Kiss-Me" comes from.

In terms of its growing requirements, London Pride is a relatively easy plant to cultivate. It prefers partial shade to full sun and well-draining soil. It is important not to overwater the plant, as it can be prone to root rot.

Propagation of London Pride can be done through division or by planting seeds. It is important to note that the plant is a slow grower and may take several years to reach its full size.

In recent years, London Pride has also become a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly during London's annual Pride parade. The plant's name and association with pride and resilience make it a fitting symbol for the LGBTQ+ community's ongoing fight for equality and acceptance.

In addition to its cultural and medicinal uses, London Pride has also been used in culinary applications. The young leaves of the plant can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The plant has a slightly bitter taste and a crunchy texture, making it a popular ingredient in dishes such as stir-fries and soups.

London Pride has also been used in herbal remedies. The plant is believed to have astringent properties and has been traditionally used to treat cuts, bruises, and other minor wounds. The leaves of the plant can be crushed and applied directly to the affected area to help promote healing.

Furthermore, London Pride has been used in the perfume industry for its delicate scent. The plant's essential oil is extracted and used as a base note in fragrances.

Lastly, London Pride has been the inspiration for several works of art. From paintings to photographs, the plant has been featured in a variety of artistic mediums. The plant's unique beauty and historical significance make it a popular subject for artists looking to capture the essence of London and its rich cultural heritage.

Overall, London Pride is a fascinating plant with a long and storied history. Its cultural significance, hardy nature, and practical uses make it a beloved symbol of the city of London and a testament to the power of nature to thrive in even the most challenging of environments. Whether you're a gardener, a lover of literature, or simply a fan of the city of London, London Pride is sure to capture your heart and inspire your imagination.


London Pride filmed at Kentmere in the Lake District on the 1st June 2023.


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