Yellow marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus)

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Yellow marsh saxifrage in flower
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Yellow marsh saxifrage fact file

Yellow marsh saxifrage description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderRosales
FamilySaxifragaceae
GenusSaxifraga

Yellow marsh saxifrage is a tufted, hairy plant, with stems of a reddish-brown. The leaves are spear-shaped and concentrated around the lower half of the stem. The flowers are bright yellow, sometimes showing small red spots.

Size
Height: up to 350 mm
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Yellow marsh saxifrage biology

Yellow marsh saxifrage flowers in July to September.

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Yellow marsh saxifrage range

Found throughout much of Europe, the yellow marsh saxifrage is threatened across much of its range. Once found in 13 counties in Britain, it is now restricted to some 20 sites, most of them in the north Pennine region of England.

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Yellow marsh saxifrage habitat

This is a plant of very particular requirements and needs a 'base-rich' soil, that is, soil fed by calcareous flushes of water. This type of habitat is scarce.

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Yellow marsh saxifrage status

Protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and listed in Appendix 1 of the Bern Convention and Annexes II and IV of the EC Habitats Directive.

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Yellow marsh saxifrage threats

This species is a victim of over-grazing, often loosing its flowers before they can produce seeds, and the effects of agricultural improvement.

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Yellow marsh saxifrage conservation

The yellow marsh saxifrage is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans (UKBAPs), and is included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme (SRP). Recent surveys of this plant have suggested that known populations may have been under estimated through the grazing off of flowers heads. This makes it hard to recognise the plant in the field.

It is realised, however, that upland over-grazing has to be controlled if this species is to have a future in the UK and, as a precautionary measure, seeds have been collected and stored in the Millennium Seed Bank by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Some of these seeds will be propagated and planted back in the wild on suitable sites as part of a re-introduction programme.

As the yellow marsh saxifrage is threatened throughout its range, an important aspect of the work to conserve it has been co-operation with European conservation groups, to find out more about its biology.

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Authentication

Information supplied by English Nature.

http://www.english-nature.org.uk

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References

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Image credit

Yellow marsh saxifrage in flower  
Yellow marsh saxifrage in flower

© John Mason / www.ardea.com

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
London
SE3 0BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401
ardea@ardea.co.uk
http://www.ardea.com

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