Saxifraga stolonifera is a perennial flowering plant known by several common names, including creeping saxifrage, strawberry saxifrage, creeping rockfoil, as well as the quite ambiguous "Aaron's beard", mother of thousands, roving sailor, wandering Jew, and strawberry begonia or strawberry geranium (it is neither a begonia nor a geranium).
The plant is native to China, Japan and Korea. But it is widespread in much of the temperate regions of Eurasia and in North America. In their homeland they thrive in forests, in bushes, in meadows, even on rocks, at altitudes of 400 to 4500 meters. It is now used as an ornamental plant worldwide.
The plant spreads via threadlike stolon (runners), with plantlets taking root in the vicinity of the mother plant. It is hardy to USDA zone 5. It grows as a perennial herbaceous plant 10 to 20 cm tall, whose inflorescence bears small zygomorphous flowers that bloom during the transition between spring and summer.
Like strawberry plants, it produces stolons with seedlings at the tip, allowing it to spread easily. It develops long thread-like extensions with scale-shaped leaves. Its petiole is 15-21 cm long. The basal leaves are green above with silver gray nerves and reddish below. The top of her hairy spit is round in outline and irregularly serrated at the edge, trimmed at the base, rounded or heart-shaped. The stem leaves are lanceolate and only 6 mm long and 2 mm wide.
The flowering period is May to August. The loose, paniculate inflorescence contains 7 to 60 flowers. The sepals are protruding or struck back. Two of the five white petals are characteristically longer than the rest. The longer petals are lanceolate, 6-15 mm long and 2-4 mm wide and pointed. The smaller petals are red or yellow dotted and 2-4 mm long and 1-2 mm wide. The stamens are 4.5 mm long. The ovary is pale yellow.
The foliage is occasionally used fresh or cooked in Japanese cuisine. It was also used as an herbal remedy in classical Japan. It contains quercetin which has been shown to have anti-cancer activity in vitro.
A popular garden flower, Saxifraga stolonifera has attractive white blossoms with distinctive pointed petals and bright yellow ovary. Herbaceous when grown outdoors, it is hardy down to 0 °C (32 °F) but does not survive prolonged freezing temperatures. It requires a sheltered spot in full or partial shade. Its creeping green foliage makes a good groundcover. Under glass it is semi-evergreen. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- Umberto Quattrocchi. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms. Synonyms, and Etymology. CRC Press, 1999. p.2395-2396. ISBN 9780849326738
- Eckehart J. Jäger, Friedrich Ebel, Peter Hanelt, Gerd K. Müller (ed.): Excursion flora of Germany . Founded by Werner Rothmaler. Volume 5 : Herbaceous ornamental and useful plants . Springer, Spektrum Academic Publisher, Berlin / Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8274-0918-8 , p 342 .
- Meeb Chen Z., Liu Y.-M., Yang S., Song B.-A., Xu G.-F., Bhadury P.S., Jin L.-H., Hu D.-Y., Liu F., Xue W., Zhou X. "Studies on the chemical constituents and anticancer activity of Saxifraga stolonifera (L)" Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry 2008 16:3 (1337-1344)
- "RHS Plantfinder - Saxifraga stolonifera". Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 95. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
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