Any of about 300 species of the genus Saxifraga, of the family Saxifragaceae, which is composed of 36 genera of mostly perennial herbaceous plants. Members of the saxifrage family are known for their ability to grow and thrive on exposed rocky crags and in fissures of rocks. They are adapted to the full range of moisture conditions, but most grow in moist, shaded woodlands in northern cold and temperate regions. Leaves characteristically alternate along the stem and sometimes are deeply lobed or form rosettes. Flowers generally are borne in branched clusters and range in colour from greenish to white or yellow and from pink or red to purple. The fruit is a capsule. Saxifraga species are planted in rock gardens or as border ornamentals, prized for their small, bright flowers, fine-textured foliage, and early spring flowering. Other well-known genera in the saxifrage family are Astilbe, Heuchera, and Mitella.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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