Micranthes oregana (formerly Saxifraga oregana)
This moisture-loving perennial is equally unique as it is attractive. In early spring, it emerges as a basal rosette of dense, lance shaped leaves up to 10” long. Then, stout flower stalks, or peduncles, protrude from the center and grow up to three feet tall to flaunt clusters of countless, dainty white-petaled flowers. This species is fun to spot while hiking in vernal or boggy areas and even more rewarding to find a place to establish it at home.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: leaves are nearly flush with the ground, flowering spike 12”-36” tall
- Light requirements: full sun, part sun/part shade
- Moisture requirements: moist to wet soil (summer dryness is ok)
- Bloom time: March - May
- Growth rate/ease: medium growth rate, moderately difficult to grow
- Wildlife support: flowers attract and provide nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators
- Native habitat/range: grows in riverbanks, bogs, wetlands and wet meadows at low to high elevations in nearly all counties of northern California, Oregon and southwest Washington, except the coastline, especially on the western slopes of the Cascades and Sierra Nevadas, as well as wet areas of the Rocky Mountains. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: landscape uses include raingardens, wet meadows and pond edges
Gardening with Oregon Saxifrage: Oregon saxifrage is a hardy and long-lived perennial that will accent your garden with its unique, stout flower spires. It’s ideal in mostly to full sun areas, like a raingarden or wet meadow, that are waterlogged during the spring and summer months. They will go dormant after flowering, allowing them to tolerate summer dryness just fine.
Photo Credit 1: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants