(Saxifraga Virginiensis) Saxifrage family

Flowers - White, small, numerous, perfect, spreading into a loose

panicle. Calyx 5-lobed; 5 petals; 10 stamens; 1 pistil with 2

styles. Scape: 4 to 12 in. high, naked, sticky-hairy. Leaves:

Clustered at the base, rather thick, obovate, toothed, and

narrowed into spatulate-margined petioles. Fruit: Widely spread,

purplish-brown pods.

Preferred Habitat - Rocky woodlands, hillsides.

Flowering Season - March-May

Distribution - New Brunswick to Georgia, and westward a thousand

miles or more.

Rooted in clefts of rock that, therefore, appears to be broken by

this vigorous plant, the saxifrage shows rosettes of fresh green

leaves in earliest spring, and soon whitens with its blossoms the

most forbidding niches. (Saxum = a rock; frango = 1 break.) At

first a small ball of green buds nestles in the leafy tuffet,

then pushes upward on a bare scape, opening its tiny, white,

five-pointed star flowers as it ascends, until, having reached

the allotted height, it scatters them in spreading clusters that

last a fortnight. Again we see that, however insignificantly

small nectar-bearing flowers may be, they are somehow protected

from crawling pilferers; in this case by the commonly employed

sticky hairs in which ants' feet become ensnared. As the anthers

mature before the stigmas are ready to receive pollen, certainly

the flowers cannot afford to send empty away the benefactors on

whom the perpetuation of their race depends; and must prevent it

even with the most heroic measures.

EARDROPS SNAP WEED WILD LADY'S SLIPPER EASTERN CACTUS PRICKLY PEAR INDIAN FIG facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail