Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Saxifraga pensylvanica (Eastern swamp saxifrage)
Smith, R.W.

Saxifraga pensylvanica

Saxifraga pensylvanica L.

Eastern Swamp Saxifrage

Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Synonym(s): Micranthes pensylvanica, Saxifraga forbesii, Saxifraga pensylvanica ssp. interior, Saxifraga pensylvanica ssp. tenuirostrata, Saxifraga pensylvanica var. forbesii, Saxifraga pensylvanica var. purpuripetala

USDA Symbol: SAPE8

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A rosette of long, bluntly lance-shaped leaves surrounds a sticky, hairy stem 1-4 ft. tall. Five-petaled flowers occur on short stalks from the top of this stem and may be white, pale yellow or purple.

The genus name is from the Latin saxum ("a stone") and frangere ("to break") and alludes either to the supposed ability of the plant to crack rocks (in the crevices where some members of the genus are found) or to the stone-like bulblets on the roots of a European species. In earlier times, saxifrages were assumed to have medicinal value in dissolving kidney or gallbladder stones.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: White to creamy pale yellow, rarely purple.


USA: CT , DE , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: ON , SK
Native Distribution: S. ME to MN, s. to n.w. NC, WV, IL & MO
Native Habitat: Wet meadows; swamps; boggy thickets; prairies

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet to moist, sometimes limey soils.


Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.3 - Butterfly Gardens, Director\'s Report, Proper Care Gives Staying Power to Cut Fl...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Saxifraga pensylvanica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Saxifraga pensylvanica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Saxifraga pensylvanica


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back