Saxifraga spathularis

17 Jun

Saxifraga spathularis (07/06/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Saxifraga spathularis (07/06/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Light to full  shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 5cm (40cm with flower stem)

Eventual Spread: 15cm

Hardiness: 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Saxifragaceae

Saxifraga spathularis Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Saxifraga spathularis Flower (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Saxifraga spathularis is an evergreen perennial with a spreading habit. Its mid green leathery leaves are elliptic with serrate margins, up to 7cm long, 3cm broad and appear in rosettes. Its white five petaled flowers are spotted with pink and yellow, up to 15mm and appear as a panicle above the leaves on red stems. Its fruit is an ellipsoid capsule. Its roots are stolons which aids its spread.

Saxifraga spathularis, commonly known as Saint Patrick’s Cabbage or Robertsoniana Saxifrage, Prattling Parnell, or Pyrenean saxifrage, is native to Ireland, parts of the UK, north Portugal and north west Spain. In its native habitat it grows in areas of high rain fall in rock woodlands.

The etymological root of the binomial name Saxifraga is derived from the Latin meaning ‘stone breaker’. Spathularis is likely to be derived from the Latin spathula meaning ‘flat piece’, reader feedback would be welcome.

Saxifraga spathularis Leaf (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Saxifraga spathularis Leaf (18/05/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Saxifraga spathularis useful as a low ground cover in combination with other low ground cover perennials, particularly in shady locations.

Ecologically, Saxifraga spathularis flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Saxifraga spathularis prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Saxifraga spathularis requires little maintenance.

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