categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 

GOLDEN-SAXIFRAGE (ALTERNATE-LEAVED)

Chrysosplenium alternifolium

Saxifrage Family [Saxifragaceae]  

month8Feb month8apr month8april month8May m

category
category8Evergreen
 
status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
  sepals
type
typeZumbel
umbel-like
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8angular
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

10th April 2008, Warsow End, nr Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
The inflorescences looking slightly asymmetrical, typical of the alternate-leaved species. Top right is one of its cordate leaves (absent from Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage).


10th April 2008, Warsow End, nr Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
A decidedly asymmetrical arrangement of both flowers and the top leaves.


10th April 2008, Warsow End, nr Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
The asymmetry is revealed to be due to the two Y-shaped branches (one at the bottom, the other at the top of the photo) being at right angles to each other! (rather than both in the same straight line). This is typical of this species.


10th April 2008, Warsow End, nr Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
There is still asymmetry even when looking at one half of the inflorescence - compare the sizes and positions of the un-toothed yellow off-circular bracts.


10th April 2008, Warsow End, nr Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have 8 yellow anthers in a circle, in the topmost flower they have turned black and x- or y- -shaped as seen here...


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
They often look a little asymmetrical from the top, as does this ragged specimen, but this is not really an identifying feature: they can look like Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage from the top.


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
A specimen in fruit, the 8 yellow anthers in a circle having gone.


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
The 8 anthers (not shown here) are in the same circular arrangement as those in Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage, but these brown objects are teeth which are in two opposing rows are the fruits within an opening which has changed shape from circular (when it had anthers) to oval now it has gone to fruit.


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
It is only when you look below the flowers that the totally different leaves below give the game away with their nearly circular leaves with crenate-edge and their off-centre stalks joining at a cordate nick and long stalks. These leaves are totally different to the leaves of Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage which are all on the flowering stalk by means of short flattened stalks (just like the two other sorts of leaves on Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage in the photo here just below the inflorescence).


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Park, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
The stalks leading up to the flowers are here square; whilst the stem below the two leaves is round here. The flower and stems are a paler colour than the large round, crenate leaves, which also have a few hairs sticking up.
The basal leaves, like the one in the foreground, are between 15 and 30mm across with stalks up to 9cm long and totally absent from Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage.


Easily confused with : Golden-saxifrage (Opposite-leaved) but with the opposite leaved variety, the leaves are opposite each other as opposed to alternate up the stem, and the stems are square whereas on the alternate leaved variety shown here they are triangular. Also, the leaves on the Alternate Leaved variety shown here are glossier, are on longer stalks and have nicks on the periphery about a quarter of the diameter (whereas on the oppositely-leaved species the leaves are wavy edged). It has creepers with leafless non-flowering runners.

Distinguishing Feature: the leaves notched and there are between 2 and 5 larger basal leaves (which Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage lacks) on long stalks looking a bit like those of Marsh Pennywort.

Both varieties of Golden-saxifrage grow in wet flushes or shallow springs, beside streams or on wet mountain ledges, but prefers alkaline water, although both species can occur together. Both have small yellowish flowers scarcely of differing colour to the leaves, opening February and July. The alternate-leaved species here can, at up to 20cm high, be up to 5cm longer than Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage. The flowers of the oppositely-leaved species are also both slightly larger and a slightly brighter colour on the opposite-leaved species here, with the leaves also being longer stalked and are alternate up the stem (although the last image seems to contradict that).

Whereas Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage flowers from February to June, Alternate-leaved Golden-saxifrage has a much shorter flowering period: just April to May.


  Chrysosplenium alternifolium  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Saxifragaceae  

Distribution
family8Saxifrage family8Saxifracaea
 BSBI maps
genus8chrysosplenium
Chrysosplenium
(Golden-saxifrages)

GOLDEN-SAXIFRAGE (ALTERNATE-LEAVED)

Chrysosplenium alternifolium

Saxifrage Family [Saxifragaceae]  

WildFlowerFinder Homepage