AskDefine | Define saxifrage

The Collaborative Dictionary

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 crevices of rocks in mountainous regions. [1913 Webster] Burnet saxifrage, a European umbelliferous plant (Pimpinella Saxifraga). Golden saxifrage, a low half-succulent herb (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) growing in rivulets in Europe; also, Chrysosplenium Americanum, common in the United States. See also under Golden. Meadow saxifrage, or Pepper saxifrage. See under Meadow. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

saxifrage n : any of various plants of the genus Saxifraga [syn: breakstone, rockfoil]



  1. A plant to the genus Saxifraga.


  • Dutch: steenbreek
  • Finnish: rikko
  • French: saxifrage
  • German: Steinbrech
  • Polish: skalnica

See also



  1. saxifrage, plant of the genus Saxifraga
See HMS Saxifrage for ship names. For the fictional character, see Sax Russell.
Saxifraga is a plant genus with about 440 known species of perennials, making it the largest genus in the family Saxifragaceae.
The Latin word Saxifraga comes from Latin saxum, "rock", and frangere, "to break". These plants are known for their ability to settle in the cracks of rocks.
The following sections of the genus are currently recognised:
Saxifrages are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Chi and Hebrew Character.

Cultivation and uses

The hybrid Saxifraga × urbium (London Pride) is commonly grown as an ornamental plant.

Mentions in Literature

  • In William Carlos Williams' famous poem "A Sort of a Song," Williams refers to his idea of perception (to see through the metaphorical rock, see into the essence of the object, "no ideas but in things") when he writes "Invent! Saxifrage is my flower that splits the rocks."
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy the character Sax Russel, an atmospheric scientist sent to Mars as part of Earth's first colony attempt on the red planet, is named after this plant. There are several references to this plant genus and Robinson uses the plant's common name "stonebreaker" and descriptions of the flower to describe aspects of Russel's personality.
saxifrage in Danish: Stenbræk
saxifrage in German: Steinbrech
saxifrage in Spanish: Saxifraga
saxifrage in French: Saxifrage
saxifrage in Upper Sorbian: Baworski rupik
saxifrage in Hebrew: בקעצור
saxifrage in Lithuanian: Uolaskėlė
saxifrage in Dutch: Steenbreek
saxifrage in Norwegian: Sildrer
saxifrage in Polish: Skalnica
saxifrage in Portuguese: Saxifraga
saxifrage in Northern Sami: Nárttit
saxifrage in Finnish: Rikot
saxifrage in Swedish: Bräckor
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