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Tufted Saxifrage

Saxifraga cespitosa

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

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

White, 5 petals
Greenish-white or yellowish-white flowers. 1 to 5 flowers per stem. 10 stamens.
The fruit is a 2-parted capsule.
An evergreen perennial, cushion-forming flower with glandular-hairy, mostly basal leaves. Leaves usually have 3 blunt lobes. The erect stalk is very few-leaved. The stem leaves are alternate along the stem and short-stalked.
Other Names:
Meadow Saxifrage, Tufted Alpine Saxifrage.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Saxifraga cespitosa, also known as tufted saxifrage or meadow saxifrage, is a perennial herbaceous plant that is native to the Arctic and subarctic regions of Europe and Asia. It is a mat-forming plant that grows in clumps, with leaves that are green to gray-green in color. The plant produces clusters of small, white or pink flowers that bloom in spring and summer. It is often used as a ground cover in gardens and it also grows well in rock gardens, alpine gardens and as a border plant. It is tolerant to cold and drought, and prefers well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade.


Tufted Saxifrage (Saxifraga cespitosa) is a beautiful and hardy alpine plant that is native to the mountains of North America. It is known for its compact growth habit and stunning pink and white flowers, which bloom in the summer months.

This plant is a member of the Saxifrage family, which includes over 400 species of plants. Tufted Saxifrage is a perennial plant, meaning it comes back year after year, and it typically grows to be between 3-6 inches tall. Its leaves are small, green, and toothed, and it produces a rosette of basal leaves that form a tight clump.

One of the most striking features of Tufted Saxifrage is its flowers. They bloom in late spring or early summer and are typically pink or white in color. The flowers are small, only about 1/2 inch in diameter, but they are numerous and form a beautiful mat of color. The petals are delicately fringed, giving the flowers a soft and delicate appearance.

Tufted Saxifrage is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of growing conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils. It is also highly tolerant of cold temperatures and can survive in high-altitude environments.

This plant is an important part of alpine ecosystems, where it provides food and habitat for a range of insects, including bees and butterflies. It is also an important food source for mountain-dwelling animals, such as bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Overall, Tufted Saxifrage is a beautiful and important plant that plays a critical role in alpine ecosystems. Its stunning flowers and hardy nature make it a popular choice for rock gardens and other alpine landscaping projects, and it is also an important component of conservation efforts to protect mountain ecosystems.

Tufted Saxifrage is found in the mountains of western North America, from Alaska to California, and it is commonly found growing in rocky alpine environments, such as talus slopes, scree, and rocky outcroppings. It is well adapted to these harsh environments, and it has developed a number of adaptations to help it survive.

For example, Tufted Saxifrage has a shallow root system that allows it to quickly absorb moisture from the soil. Its leaves are also covered in tiny hairs, which help to trap moisture and protect the plant from drying out in the sun and wind.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, Tufted Saxifrage has also been used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples of North America. It has been used to treat a range of ailments, including coughs, colds, and fevers, and it has also been used as a poultice to treat skin irritations.

If you are interested in growing Tufted Saxifrage in your garden, it is important to provide it with the right growing conditions. As mentioned, it prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soils, and it does not do well in wet soils or humid environments. It is also important to avoid overwatering the plant, as it is susceptible to root rot.

Tufted Saxifrage is a fascinating and beautiful alpine plant that plays an important role in mountain ecosystems. Its stunning flowers and hardy nature make it a popular choice for alpine gardens, and its ecological and medicinal value make it an important plant for conservation efforts.

Tufted Saxifrage is a slow-growing plant that can take several years to reach full maturity. It is typically propagated from seed, and it can be grown from seed indoors or directly sown in the garden. It is important to keep the soil moist but not too wet when starting the seeds, and they should be kept at a cool temperature to encourage germination.

Once established, Tufted Saxifrage requires very little maintenance. It is a low-growing plant that forms a tight mat, and it does not require regular pruning or fertilization. In fact, it is important to avoid overfertilizing the plant, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth and reduced flower production.

One of the best things about Tufted Saxifrage is its ability to attract pollinators to the garden. Bees, butterflies, and other insects are attracted to its beautiful flowers, and it can be an important food source for these creatures, which play a critical role in pollinating other plants in the garden.

If you are looking for a hardy and beautiful alpine plant to add to your garden, Tufted Saxifrage is definitely worth considering. Its stunning flowers, hardy nature, and ecological value make it a great addition to any alpine landscape, and it is sure to provide years of enjoyment and beauty.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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