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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Yellow Marsh Saxifrage - Saxifraga hirculus

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Extremely Vulnerable

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from one small population in the Absorka-Beartooth Wilderness. Though little data are available for the species in Montana, the alpine habitat in which it grows is not generally subject to negative impacts from human disturbance.
General Description
Yellow Marsh Saxifrage is a perennial herb with tufted stems that are 6-20 cm tall and arising from a short rhizome or stolon. The clustered, oblong-linear basal leaves are 15-50 mm long, taper to a petiole, and have entire margins. Alternate stem leaves are smaller and lack petioles. Leaves are glabrous, but the stem has curly reddish hairs above. Solitary flowers occur at the stem tips. Each has 5 separate, spreading to reflexed sepals that are 3-5 mm long with spreading hairs on the margin and 5 yellow, narrowly elliptic petals that are 7-13 mm long. The fruit is a red, 5-lobed capsule that is 9-16 mm high.

Flowering in August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Saxifraga chrysantha and S. flagellaris are our other yellow-flowered saxifrages; the former has leaves 3-7 mm long, while the latter has long, sinuous stolons.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Circumboreal, south from AK to UT, CO and northern NM (Kartesz in prep. 2012).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 1

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Wet, organic soil in the alpine zone.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P. and P. F. Stickney. 1994. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 41:228-231.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Yellow Marsh Saxifrage"
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Citation for data on this website:
Yellow Marsh Saxifrage — Saxifraga hirculus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from