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Saxifraga flagellaris

Black Bear Pass, July 20, 2008.

Saxifraga flagellaris

Saxifraga flagellaris subspecies crandalliiSynonym: Hirculus platysepalus subspecies crandallii(Whiplash Saxifrage)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Alpine. Rocky tundra. Summer.
Cinnamon Pass, July 31, 2007.

A number of characteristics make this lovely and dainty plant relatively easy to identify: long, red runners stream out from the basal rosette of leaves to root-in and give rise to new plants; basal rosettes are very attractively symmetrical and reminiscent of many succulent plants; stems and leaves are very noticeably glandular-hairy. 

You will find this lovely plant high on mountain tundra in the company of dozens of other alpine species that make the tundra so special.  The bright yellow of the tiny flowers will be the first thing to attract your attention to this plant.  See other similar SaxifragesAlso see the very similar Saxifraga chrysantha.

Carl Willdenow named this plant in 1810 from a specimen collected by J. Adams on Mount Kazbek in the Caucasus Mountains.  A number of specific epithets and subspecies have been proposed for this plant over the years; Intermountain Flora states, "that although Hulten's work in 1964 "recognized ten subspecies in the circumpolar S. flagellaris complex, three of them from North America..., the minor morphological differences do not correlate with geographical distribution in any meaningful way, and we are not recognizing infraspecific taxa in this complex".  The new Flora of the Four Corners also calls this species, S. flagellaris.

Saxifraga flagellaris

Saxifraga flagellaris

Saxifraga flagellaris subspecies crandalliiSynonym: Hirculus platysepalus subspecies crandallii(Whiplash Saxifrage)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Alpine. Rocky tundra. Summer.
Cinnamon Pass, July 31, 2007 and
Placer Gulch above Silverton, July 17, 2011.

A hand lens or a close-up photograph reveal the numerous, red, bulbous-tipped, glandular hairs.

 

Saxifraga flagellaris

Saxifraga flagellaris

Saxifraga flagellaris subspecies crandalliiSynonym: Hirculus platysepalus subspecies crandallii(Whiplash Saxifrage)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Saxifraga flagellaris