Saxifraga oregana (Oregon Saxifrage)
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Habit: one of the most common saxifrages in the Northwest, this lovely perennial starts from a stout root-stock and produces a lush rosette of basal leaves. The blades are elliptical, 1-5 inches long, and have either entire or wavy, toothed, margins. The stems are succulent and glandular, 1-3 feet tall, and bear a long inflorescence clustered with white blossoms. Each flower has 5 small, spatula-shaped petals placed around a fleshy, light green split ovary. Blossoms come in early spring and usually last until the end of summer.
Ecology: Oregon saxifrage lives in bogs, wet meadows and seeps, within tall grasses, sedges and mixed coniferous forests. It is native to northern California, most of Oregon, and to some parts of Washington and Idaho, occurring at mid to high elevations.
Growing conditions: enjoys sunny to partially shaded locations with wet to rather moist soils. This species is very resilient and well adapted to thrive in most soil types, provided there is adequate moisture. It is also able to survive long drought periods during its dormancy. It is an ideal plant for a spot in the garden that is waterlogged throughout the winter and spring. The early flowering blossoms will add texture to the landscape at the beginning of the spring.
Oregon saxifrage attracts many pollinators, providing an important source of nectar for many insects in the early season. Restoration sites with wet areas such as stream banks, vernal pools and seasonal wetlands also profit from this perennial’s ability to hold its ground during extremely wet conditions.
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