Saxifraga caesia L.
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|Cima Portule m.2308 Altopiano di Asiago|
Saxifraga is a genus containing about 440 known species of Holarctic perennial plants, making it the largest genus in the family Saxifragaceae. They are commonly called saxifrages or stone-breakers. The Latin word Saxifraga means literally "stone-breaker", from Latin saxum "rock" or "stone" + frangere "to break". It is usually explained by reference to certain saxifrages' ability to settle in the cracks of rocks, which they may in fact wear down by bioerosion to the point of splitting. As the origin of the name predates the discovery of the rock-dwelling members, and dates back to the medical botany writings of Dioscorides in the 1st Century, this is problematic. An alternative meaning of the name rests in the small bulbils that grow around the base of the grassland-living type species S. granulata. By the Doctrine of Signatures these, together with its kidney shaped leaves, were thought by the ancients to indicate a medicinal use for treatment of urinary calculi.
The genera Saxifragopsis (saxifragopsises), Saxifragella are sometimes included in Saxifraga. In recent DNA based phylogenetic analyses of the Saxifragaceae, the sections Micranthes and Merkianae are shown to be more closely related to the Boykinia and Heuchera clades, and the most recent floras separate these groups as the genus Micranthes.
Most saxifrages are smallish plants whose leaves grow close to the ground, often in a rosette. The leaves typically have a more or less incised margin; they may be succulent, needle-like and/or hairy, reducing evaporation. Charles Darwin – erroneously believing Saxifraga to be allied to the sundew family (Droseraceae) – suspected the sticky-leaved Round-leaved Saxifrage (S. rotundifolia), Rue-leaved Saxifrage (S. tridactylites) and Pyrenean Saxifrage (S. umbrosa) to be protocarnivorous plants and conducted some experiments whose results supported his observations, but the matter has apparently not been studied since his time.
The inflorescences or single flowers are raised above the main plant body at flowering time on stalks devoid of true leaves. The small actinomorphic hermaphrodite flowers have five petals and sepals and are usually white, but red to yellow in some species. As in other primitive eudicots, some of the 5 or 10 stamens may appear petal-like.
Saxifrages are typical inhabitants of arctic-alpine ecosystems, and are hardly ever found outside the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere; most members of this genus are found in subarctic climates. A good number of species grow in glacial habitat, such as S. biflora which can be found some 4,000 meters ASL in the Alps, or the East Greenland Saxifrage (S. nathorstii). The genus is also abundant in the Eastern and Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows. Though the archetypal saxifrage is a small plant huddling between rocks high up on a mountain, many species do not occur in such habitat and are larger (though still rather delicate) plants found on wet meadows.
Among those saxifrages found outside mountaineous, subarctic or glacial regions, Starry Saxifrage (S. stellaris) is often seen alongside Fountain Apple-moss (Philonotis fontana) at springs in Ireland, Britain, and other parts of Western Europe. In the same regions, Yellow Mountain Saxifrage (S. aizoides) is typically found in calcifugous grassland of the northern uplands together with Smooth Lady's-mantle (Alchemilla glabra), as well as (less abundantly) on upland calcicolous pastures characterized by Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris), Bendy Ditrichum moss (Ditrichum flexicaule), Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina) and Mother-of-Thyme (Thymus praecox). But it is also a common sight in acidic mires with rich growth of the sedge Carex demissa.
Various Saxifraga species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some butterflies and moths, such as the Grey Chi (Antitype chi), Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) and Phoebus Apollo (Parnassius phoebus).
bungbing, maaciejka, PaulLees, yiannis, Silvio2006, joska, siggi, Argus, cirano, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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- [2011-07-26 9:21]
Ciao Fabrizio,stesso pov che avevi scelto per le stelle alpine e stesso eccellente risultato,perfetta gestione del bianco al sole che provoca sempre un sacco di problemi e ottima nitidezza,una piccola chicca sono le ombre dei fiori sulla roccia cosi' ben contrastate.Complimenti e buona serata,Luciano
an nice composition from this Saxifraga specie in natural habitat.
Good pov and sharpness.
Another interesting plant in a beautiful environment and another beautiful photo.
Very nice shot of these lovely flowers in natural habitat, very well exposure, good sharpness, point of view and composition are also very good,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening,
very good picture with great details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou
very nice photo of these mountain flowers. Excellent point of view. Nice natural colours. Very interesting depth of field.
Thanks for sharing,
Fantastic image of these beautiful flowers my friend, splendid overall sharpness, superb exposure/white balance control to compliment these lovely colours, great work Fabrizio and well done,
Preciosa composicion e interesante planta.bonitos colores y una iluminacion adecuada.
Saludos y que tengas una buena tarde.
Excellent photo of the Saxifraga from a good point of view in its natural landscape. Good lighting of the white flowers. regards yiannis
- [2011-07-26 11:05]
Excellent photo of this Flower, Saxifraga species, nice colors and verz good details, TFS!
- [2011-07-26 11:38]
A very fine capture of this species of Saxifraga. The POV in its limestone alpine habitat is excellent and taken with fine sharpness, DOF, natural colours and lighting to make this a superb illustration of this species.
Thanks and best regards,
- [2011-07-26 11:52]
This is your picture is simply great. Everything is perfect, great POV and perfect DOF. Sharpness and details are fantastic.Best regards Siggi
What a beautifully natural image of the flowers amongst the limestone. Just a pleasure to view.
- [2011-07-26 14:53]
A nice composition of these flowers in natural habitat,nice colors and fine sharpness.
Have a nice day!...
- [2011-07-27 3:50]
real excellent view of this wild beauty in lovely surroundings. The low angle shot showing the natural surroundings is splendid.
Very original shot!
Agréable valorisation du sujet dans son environnement sous une bonne profondeur de champ permettant d'apprécier la finesse des détails.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.