The "Ancient King" as Farrer called Saxifraga florulenta likes to occupy sheer cliff faces where no other plants will grow. It is a very "look at me plant". Nevertheless we were fortunate that some seedlings had lodged closer to ground level. Some of the photos were taken with a telephoto zoom but most were a few feet up the cliff (as with the Euro) or even below eye level right by the path. Here is a nice specimen that was easy to photograph. Although Farrer likened the rosettes to "spiny sea urchins" the leaves are remarkably soft.
From the Wet Coast of British Columbia, Canada
Feature your favourite hikes at:
I made a short video of Saxifraga callosa subsp. callosa var callosa at Col de Tende to convey the beauty of the flowers, foliage and habitat.
It can be seen at:
Click anywhere on the picture except the arrow!!
Beautiful, thanks for making that and posting here; and as before, your music selection is perfect accompaniment to the scenery.
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
Thanks so much, David.
It kinda takes my whole being away to another world. Wonderful!
Rick Rodich zone 4a. Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Absolutely beautiful, David! I enjoyed both the videos and the musical accompaniment very much.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm
I made use of all the rainy days over Christmas to work on a video of Saxifraga florulenta. This is one you definitely can't grow as it has never been successfully flowered in cultivation and, because it is endangered, it is illegal to collect seed. And for all you rock lovers out there, enjoy all the rocks !
I too am enjoying the travel from my comfortable computer chair. Thank you very much David for sharing - the scenery is incredible.
Greetings from SW Washington The Evergreen State
USDA Zone 8b −9.4 °C (15 °F) -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Heat Zone 4 15-30 days exceeding 30°C(86°F)
Thank you for posting such a beautiful video. Could you share the reason this wonderful Saxifrage is endangered? I can't imagine the habitat destruction is a concern.
That's a very perceptive question James. The habitat is pretty well indestructible (except with explosives), and it grows within national parks, either side of the divide between France and Italy. It was Farrer who called it the Ancient King and his account (in his book "Among the Hills") of coming across the plant is an entertaining read.
McGregor in " Saxifrages" (2008) notes that the evolution of Saxifraga florulenta occurred prior to the Pleistocene glaciations and it is likely that it has a narrow genetic constitution due to repeated near-extinctions. It has a very restricted range over a distance of about 50 km, growing only on north or north west facing granite cliffs in tight crevices. Furthermore it is monocarpic and flowers only after about 12 years or possibly even 50. Bland in "Silver Saxifrages" (2000) noted its position is precarious and that there is some evidence to suggest it may be declining from natural causes.
However in places where we found the plant it seemed to be quite vigorous and relatively common. I looked it up on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and it turns out that it is in the lowest category "Least Concern" and its population trend is increasing! It certainly doesn't have much competition where it chooses to grow, as shown on this photo of a blank granite wall about 100 m high with Saxifraga florulenta dotted about.
Thanks for your kind comments on the video and your question. Now that I have looked it up in the IUCN list I feel much better about the long-term survival of such a unique and spectacular Saxifrage.
Congratulations David ... another excellent video.Tim Ingram and I have both expressed an interest in the possibility of producing high-quality 'Society' videos that would have the potential to be used as entertaining and educational television programmes - with the intention of spreading the word about a veritable host of alpine rich habitats and our wonderful hobby. Your superb productions show that this wouldn't be such a distant dream and would prove a worthwhile venture for the alpine societies (in conjunction or individually) to pursue.
Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!