saxifrage

/sak"seuh frij/, n.
any plant of the genus Saxifraga, certain species of which grow wild in the clefts of rocks, other species of which are cultivated for their flowers. Cf. saxifrage family.
[1400-50; late ME < L saxifraga (herba) stone-breaking (herb), equiv. to saxi-, comb. form of saxum stone + -fraga, fem. of -fragus breaking; see FRAGILE]

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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.

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plant
also called  rockfoil (genus Saxifraga) 

      any of a genus of flowering plants, of the family Saxifragaceae, native in temperate, subarctic, and alpine areas. About 300 species have been identified. Many of them are valued as rock-garden subjects, and some are grown in garden borders. As a group they are notable for their small bright flowers and fine-textured foliage. Alpine species are the earliest to flower in gardens.

      Saxifraga virginiensis, S. pennsylvanica, and S. oregana constitute a few of the species that can be found growing wild in North America. Saxifraga callosa, S. cotyledon, and S. granulata, from Europe, have several varieties that are prized for their white to rose-pink, much-branched flower clusters. S. paniculata, which comes from the north temperate zone, has yielded a number of fine garden varieties, differing in size, leaf shape, and flower colour. Only one species is widely grown as a window and basket plant, S. stolonifera, a trailing plant with cascading runners. Its common names are strawberry begonia, strawberry geranium, and mother-of-thousands.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • saxifrage — [ saksifraʒ ] n. f. et adj. • XIIIe; du lat. saxum « rocher » et frangere « briser » 1 ♦ Plante herbacée (saxifragacées) dont certaines espèces croissent dans les fissures des rochers et des murs. « leurs parois où pendent les filaments des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Saxifrage — Sax i*frage (?; 48), n. [L. saxifraga, from saxifragus stone breaking; saxum rock + frangere to break: cf. F. saxifrage. See {Fracture}, and cf. {Sassafras}, {Saxon}.] (Bot.) Any plant of the genus {Saxifraga}, mostly perennial herbs growing in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • saxifrage — late 14c., from O.Fr. saxifrage (13c.), from L.L. saxifraga kind of herb, from L. saxifraga herba, lit. a rock breaking herb, from saxifragus stonebreaking, from saxum stone, rock + frag , root of frangere to break (see FRACTION (Cf. fraction …   Etymology dictionary

  • saxifrage — [sak′sə frij΄] n. [ME < MFr < L saxifraga < saxum, a rock (see SAXATILE) + base of frangere, to BREAK: prob. from growing in rock crevices] any of a genus (Saxifraga) of chiefly perennial plants of the saxifrage family, with small white …   English World dictionary

  • saxifrage — Saxifrage, ou Rompierre, Saxifragum, ou Saxifraga …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • saxifrage — ► NOUN ▪ a low growing plant of rocky or stony ground, bearing small white, yellow, or red flowers. ORIGIN Latin saxifraga, from saxum rock + frangere to break …   English terms dictionary

  • Saxifrage — Saxifrag …   Wikipédia en Français

  • saxifrage — (sa ksi fra j ) adj. 1°   Ancien terme de médecine. Propre à dissoudre la pierre ; on dit aujourd hui lithontriptique. 2°   S. f. Genre de la famille des saxifragées où l on distingue : la saxifrage ombreuse, appelée généralement aigrette par les …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Saxifrage — See HMS Saxifrage for ship names. For the fictional character, see Sax Russell. Taxobox name = Saxifraga image width = 240px image caption = Saxifraga oppositifolia regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo =… …   Wikipedia

  • saxifrage — [15] The saxifrage is etymologically the ‘stone breaker’. The word comes via Old French saxifrage from late Latin saxifraga, a compound formed from Latin saxum ‘rock’ and frag , the stem of frangere ‘break’ (source of English fraction, fracture,… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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