Yellow Marsh Saxifrage – Saxifraga hirculus

Alaska Wildflowers | Yellow

The flower of yellow marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) with 5 yellow petals and orange proximal spots.

Yellow Marsh Saxifrage

Saxifraga hirculus

Common Names

bog saxifrage
marsh saxifrage
yellow marsh saxifrage

Synonyms

Hirculus proprepens
Leptasea hirculus
Saxifraga prorepens
Saxifraga hirculus
ssp. hirculus
Saxifraga hirculus
ssp. propinqua
Saxifraga hirculus
ssp. coloradansis
Saxifraga hirculus
ssp. compacta
Saxifraga hirculus
var. propinqua

Subspecies

none

Genus: Saxifraga
Family: Saxifragaceae
Order: Saxifragales
full classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb



Identification and Information

Saxifraga hirculus is a yellow-flowering plant that grows from a short rhizome and underground stems that extend horizontally. A caudex (a thickened stem base) is sometimes present, contributing to the plant’s loosely tufted appearance, giving it a bushy or clumped form. Above ground, the plant’s stems are erect, with basal and cauline (along the stem) leaves, though it predominantly exhibits basal foliage. The leaves of vary from linear to linear-oblanceolate (narrowly oval and tapering to a point at the base) or spatulate (spoon-shaped), maintaining a simple, unlobed form with smooth, entire edges without serrations or teeth. These leaves can be thin to slightly fleshy, ranging in length from about 10 to 30 mm, and are either glabrous (smooth) or sparsely covered in reddish-brown hairs. The leaf tips can be pointed or sharply angled, and some leaves feature a distinctive non-secreting tip known as a hydathode. Cauline leaves, found alternating along the stem, are sessile (lacking a petiole) near the top, closely hugging the stem.

Floral descriptions vary, indicating that Saxifraga hirculus flowers can either be solitary or grouped in 2-4 flowered cymes, with both arrangements observed. Flowers form terminally on the stem, nodding initially. The petals are bright yellow and orange-spotted proximally (often drying to a cream color). Petals are elliptic to oblong or obovate and 6-18mm long. The sepals are green or purple, measuring 1.5 to 2.5 mm in length and 4.5 to 5.5 mm in width, and are free from each other. The calyx is hairy with orange-brown or reddish cilia. The flowers have ten stamens with yellow anthers. The superior ovary consists of two partially fused carpels, leading to a dry, ovoid, or ellipsoid brown or purple capsule that measures 6 to 9 mm in length and 4 to 6.5 mm in width.

Uses

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

No traditional or food uses for Saxifraga hirculus.


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Distribution and Habitat

Saxifraga Circulus is a circumpolar or circumboreal, arctic-alpine species occurring in Alaska, throughout most of Canada, sparsely in the Rocky Mountain States of the US, Greenland, Iceland, and Svalbard, mountainous areas of Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, China, and Mongolia.

Yellow marsh saxifrage lives in wet meadows, along lake shores and streams, and wet tundra or alpine tundra.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common 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
                              GenusSaxifraga L. – saxifrage
                                 SpeciesSaxifraga hirculus L. – yellow marsh saxifrage

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Pratt, Verna E. Alaskan Wildflowers. Anchorage: Alaskakrafts, Inc., 1989. Page 39.

Classification and Taxonomy

ITIS (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=24228#null

USDA (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=SAHI3

Uses

No sources

Map and Distribution

GBIF (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. GBIF. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://www.gbif.org/species/3032811

NatureServe (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. NatureServe Explorer. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.129802/Saxifraga_hirculus

Description and Information

Flora of North America Editorial Committee (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. Flora of North America. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Saxifraga_hirculus

Canadian Museum of Nature (n.d.). Saxifraga hirculus. Canadian Museum of Nature. Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://nature.ca/aaflora/data/www/sxsxhc.htm

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