Golden Saxifrage

This month I’m conducting surveys for four-toed salamanders throughout northwestern Massachusetts, and after spending some time crawling through swamps I feel inspired to showcase one of my favorite early spring wildflowers.  Golden saxifrage (Saxifragaceae: Chrysosplenium americanum), also known as water carpet, is common in seepy areas throughout New England.  I don’t know much about it beyond that, but I suspect its tiny flowers are overlooked by most people, and I like the way the bright orange anthers are arranged in little squares.


The flowerbuds, too, are in the form of neat little square packets.


Here’s a more zoomed-out view of the plant:

water carpet flowers 4

The flowers are only out in the spring, and the rest of the year the plant just looks like this:

water carpet patch 2

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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3 Responses to Golden Saxifrage

  1. MARY Beth martin says:

    Because you live little squares!

  2. Cindi Kobak says:

    Thank you, Charley! I collected a bit of this plant from our wetlands (southern CT) a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t i.d. it without the flowers. Silly me. Will check again to find those cool little square blooms.

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