Prickly Saxifrage (Saxifraga tricuspidata)

Prickly Saxifrage (Saxifraga tricuspidata)
Also known as: three-toothed saxifrage


Bloom time: May – June

Additional photos:

General: Prickly saxifrage is a loosely matted perennial (5-15 cm tall), that grows in large bunches, close to the ground.

Leaves & Twigs:

  • The stiff, three-toothed leaves on this plant give prickly saxifrage its name.
  • The leaves (7-14 mm long) are leathery and slightly reddish in colour, and broadest at the tip.
  • Dead leaves remain on the stem for several years and provide protection for developing winter buds.

Flowers & Fruits:

  • Between three and 10 creamy white flowers appear at the end of the saxifrage stems.
  • Each flower (4-7 mm long) has five sepals and five petals.

Habitat: This plant can often be found in dry, exposed, rocky areas, including rock crevices.

PlantWatch Pointers: Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants.

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • Manitoba
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prickly saxifrage’s Latin genus name, Saxifraga, means “stone-breaker” – an excellent description of how its roots can break down stone into smaller components useable by other plants.