Micranthes lyallii
Redstem saxifrage

Alaska Wildflowers | White

Persisting flowers late in the season and mature follicles of Red-stemmed saxifrage (Micranthes lyallii)

Micranthes lyallii
Redstem saxifrage

Common Names

Lyall’s saxifrage
redstem saxifrage
red-stemmed saxifrage

Synonyms

Saxifraga lyallii
Saxifraga lyallii ssp. lyallii
Saxifraga lyallii ssp. hultenii
Saxifraga lyallii var. hultenii

Subspecies

hybrid parent of Micranthes lyallii × Micranthes odontoloma (British Columbia only)

Genus: Micranthes
Family: Saxifragaceae
Order: Saxifragalas
taxonomic heirarchy

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – forb/herb

Identification and Information

Micranthes lyalii, commonly known as red-stemmed saxifrage, is a perennial herb that grows from long, well-developed rhizomes. It may grow individually or in clusters. The leaves are primarily basal. The basal leaves are spatulate to obovate or fan-shaped (spoon-shaped or oval) with rounded to flattened petioles and green with red margins. The leaf margins are strongly serrate to dentate. If present, the stem leaves are small and bract-like.



The flowering stems are 4-30 cm tall, often branched, and support 10-15 flowers. The stems, calyces, and fruits are often deep red. The inflorescence is a branched panicle. The flowers have green-purple reflexed sepals and white or pinkish egg-shaped petals, about 2-5.5 mm longer than the sepals, with two distinct yellow or greenish-yellow basal spots. It has 10 stamens with 6 mm long filaments and red anthers. The fruit is a deep red, two-beaked 6-12 mm long follicle with curved beaks.

Flowering summer-early autumn.

M. lyallii is monoecious with bisexual flowers.

M. lyallii is known to hybridize with Micranthes odontoloma in Alberta, British Columbia, northern Idaho, and Montana.


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Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

No traditional, medicinal, or culinary uses were found.


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Distribution and Habitat

Micranthes lyallii is primarily distributed across northwestern North America, including Alaska, western Canada, and the northern states of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. While the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) does report three occurrences in Siberia, these have not been included in this summary due to the lack of photographic evidence, insufficient details on the dataset, and the absence of mention in other reliable sources confirming its presence outside North America.

It prefers moist soils and can be found near streambanks, wet meadows, and gravelly slopes, mostly in mountainous or alpine zones.

Classification

RankCommon Name (Scientific Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderSaxifraganae 
                        OrderSaxifragales 
                           FamilySaxifragaceae (saxifrages, saxifragacées)
                              GenusMicranthes Haw. (alpine saxifrage)
                                 SpeciesMicranthes lyallii

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References and Further Reading

Guidebook

None

Classification and Taxonomy

Plants of the World Online. (2024). Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:160046-2#synonyms

Canadensys. (2024). VASCAN: The Database of Vascular Plants of Canada, Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/9250?lang=en

USDA NRCS PLANTS Database. (2024). Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=SALYL

Uses

none

Map and Distribution

GBIF. (2024). Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://www.gbif.org/species/5567640

NatureServe Explorer. (2024). Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.136971/Micranthes_lyallii

Description and Information

Flora of North America. (2024). Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Micranthes_lyallii

Hultén, E. (1968). Flora of Alaska and Neighboring Territories: A Manual of the Vascular Plants (1st ed.) (pg. 578). Stanford University Press.

University of Alaska Fairbanks. (2024). Ecological Atlas of Denali’s Flora: Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://ecologicalatlas.uaf.edu/index.php/browse-plant-species/atlas-page/?nps_id=1806

University of British Columbia. (2024). E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia, Micranthes lyallii. Retrieved April 6, 2024, from https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Micranthes%20lyallii&redblue=Both&lifeform=7

 

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