Micranthes pensylvanica (Swamp Saxifrage)

Plant Info
Also known as: Eastern Swamp Saxifrage
Family:Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; swamps, wet meadows, moist woods, seeps
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in small branching clusters in the upper part of the stem. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across with 5 narrow pale yellow to greenish (rarely purple) petals and 10 spreading orange-tipped stamens around a relatively large green ovary in the center. Flowers are initially tightly packed in a cluster but spread out as the plant matures.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are in a basal rosette, each to 9 inches long and 3 inches wide, widest at or above the middle, with a blunt or sharp point at the tip, tapering at the base, on a short reddish stalk. Leaf surfaces are sparsely to densely covered in sticky hairs and the edges may be toothless or have rounded teeth. The stem is thick and also covered in sticky hairs. One plant has a single flowering stem.


Swamp Saxifrage formerly went by Saxifraga pensylvanica. I came upon a group of Swamp Saxifrage, where some of these photos were taken, just as the flowers were blooming. A week later I returned to the spot to see how they were progressing and found every plant had been topped off. Deer must like it.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County and in Pine County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Pam - Oak Grove, Anoka county
on: 2010-05-24 15:07:00

Private residence, acreage, plants growing in a damp thicket abutting a wet meadow. I had just emailed you about these plants as I could not identify them. They are now blooming and are wonderful!

Posted by: JoEllen - Fern Township, Hubbard County
on: 2011-06-13 10:31:30

I've been watching them all spring. They're blooming right now.

Posted by: Brian - Iron Horse Prairie SNA
on: 2013-02-14 23:46:30

I saw this in bloom at Iron Horse Prairie SNA in south-central Minnesota on May 6, 2012.

Posted by: Mark - Rice County Minnesota
on: 2013-06-02 22:29:38

Blooming alongside the boardwalk through Rice County Park/Cannon Wilderness Area on June 2nd, 2013! Very noticeable.

Posted by: John Lawrey - Duluth Heights
on: 2019-06-02 21:21:34

Discovered this intriguing plant in our swamp behind the house. It's more of a wetland than bog. I am excited to have learned about this new species.

Posted by: John Goodrich - Pine County, New Dosey Township
on: 2020-05-24 18:31:29

We've been letting our field naturalize and have been rewarded with a a nice colony of this swamp saxifrage. It appears in a wet area that also hosts tamarack and fringed orchids.

Posted by: Freddie - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2023-06-20 22:06:21

Saw these on the Silver Creek trail in Jay Cooke State Park.

Posted by: Abby - Gary New Duluth
on: 2024-05-15 07:56:17

Noticed quite a few of these plants just north of the Gary New Duluth soccer fields near the creek. I was delighted to find a new to me species, and right in town! Going to continue to watch as they bloom.

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