SPECIES DESCRIPTION
SAXIFRAGA TRIDACTYLITES

Family:- SAXIFRAGACEAE/Sect. SAXIFRAGA/Subsect Saxifraga/Series
Saxifraga

Common Names:- None

Synonyms:- None

Meaning:- Saxifraga (L) Stone-breaker.
                 Tridactylites (Gr) Three-fingered.
              
General description:- Erect, slender annual, varying greatly in stature but
generally 4-12 cm tall, sparsely covered with short, spreading (patent), purple-
tipped glandular hairs; often the whole plant reddish with age, especially in dry,
sunny positions.

Stem:- Simple or sparingly branched.

Leaves:- Basal leaves few, distant or in a lax rosette, withered when the flower is
fully open (at anthesis), leaf stalked (petiolate), the outermost with entire, elliptic
lamina, the inner ones 3-1obed. Lower cauline leaves fan-shaped (flabellate),
deeply 3(-5)lobed into oblong, subobtuse, divergent lobes, the middle one larger
than the lateral ones; upper leaves more reduced and sometimes entire.

Flowers:- Generally 3-6 in a diffuse, bracteate cyme. Pedicels (2-)2.5-4(-5) times
as long as the calyx. Hypanthium c. 2.5 x 2.5 mm at anthesis, enlarging somewhat
in fruit, rounded or ending abruptly (truncate) at the base. Sepals c. 1.5 x 1 mm,
ovate, obtuse. Petals 2.5-3 x 1.5- 2 mm, suberect or spreading, entire or slightly
notched, white. Ovary at least 3\4 inferior; styles very short, divergent.

Fruit:- Capsule subglobose. Seeds c. 0.4 x 0.25 mm, coarsely papillose.

Key features:-
1) Basal leaves few, distant or in a lax rosette, withered at anthesis,
2) Lower cauline leaves flabellate, deeply 3(-5) lobed.
3) Pedicels (2-)2.5-4(-5) times as long as calyx. 

Habitat:- Various open habitats with shallow, gravelly, soil, including rock ledges,
pavements, walls, roadsides and railway tracks, on different (substrates but often
on limestone, 0-1200 m.

Distribution:- Throughout mainland Greece and on several of the larger islands.
Almost throughout Europe also in NW Africa and Cyrenaica, extending through
Anatolia to NE Iran and Turkmenistan. A few scattered localities throughout Crete,
Rare.

Flowering time:- Mar-June, depending on altitude.

Photo by:- Dr. Armin Jagel

                         FAMILY and GENUS DESCRIPTIONS

SAXIFRAGACEAE

General description:- Herbs, mostly perennial.

Flowers:- 4- or 5-merous, usually in cymes (rarely solitary or in racemes). Petals
usually 4 or 5; sometimes absent. Stamens twice as many as the sepals, or rarely
equal in number or fewer. Carpels 2; united below but usually divergent above;
styles free. Ovary superior, semi-inferior or almost inferior.

Fruit:- A capsule. Seeds numerous.

Key features:-
1) Leaves not more than 6 cm wide.
2) Hypanthium united with lower part of ovary, or absent.

SAXIFRAGA

General description:- Herbs, sometimes rather woody at the base; usually
perennial, rarely annual or biennial.

Leaves:- Simple, but often deeply dissected and sometimes apparently ternate;
usually alternate or basal, rarely opposite, exstipulate; foliar glands (other than
hydathodes), if present, superficial or on hairs, not immersed as in Bergenia.

Flowers:- 5-merous, usually in cymes or panicles, rarely solitary in leaf-axils.
Petals present; stamens 10; ovary superior or, more often, semi-inferior or inferior;
placentation axile.

Key features:-
1) Petals entire or emarginate.
2) Leaves not more than 6 cm wide.
3) Hypanthium united with lower part of ovary, or absent.

Sect. SAXIFRAGA

General description:- Usually perennial; habit varied, but usually with numerous
leafy shoots, forming a mat or cushion.

Leaves:- Alternate, fairly soft, often lobed or crenate, without calcareous
incrustation.

Flowers:- Petals usually white, more rarely pale or dull yellow, pink or red. Ovary
semi-inferior to inferior.

Subsect Saxifraga

General description:- Always perennial.

Leaves:- Most of the leaves lobed, or boldly crenate.

Series Saxifraga

General description:- Evergreen or summer-dormant, with bulbils in the axils of
the basal leaves, rarely also of the upper leaves.

Flowers:- Petals white, rarely tinged with pink.