Information on Rue-leaved Saxifrage

Common Name: Rue-leaved Saxifrage
Scientific Name: Saxifraga tridactylites
Irish Name: Móran balla
Family Group: Saxifragaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Rue-leaved Saxifrage is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This small, low-growing plant is more often found growing on old walls and in bare, stony places.  A hairy, sticky annual, it grows to about 15cm high and often has a reddish hue to its leaves and stalks.  The white, 5-petalled flowers (4-6mm across) are borne in clusters on erect stalks, flowering from March to September.  The leaves are pinnately divided into 3 or 5 lobes and are untoothed. It is a native plant and it belongs to the family Saxifragaceae.

 I first found this little plant growing on a window-sill in the cathedral ruins at Cashel, Co Tipperary in 1977.  I photographed it in Mullingar, Co Westmeath and Kilkenny town in 2009.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Saxifrage, Rue-leaved
Saxifrage, Rue-leaved

Saxifraga is the Latin word for 'stonebreaker' and this is a reference to its habit of rooting in niches and crevices of rocks, possibly causing the rocks to erode or even split. 

Culpeper's 17th century remedy for dissolving kidney stones was a distillation made from the seeds of Saxifrage plants.