Photospot: rue-leaved saxifrage
Saxifrages have star quality. Wild saxifrages we associate with alpine or arctic habitats. Some are beautiful or spectacular. Many are grown as garden flowers.
Tiny, white flowers, 5-petalled.
Green stems and leaves, soon turning red.
Fingered leaves, stickily hairy - see below.
Yet one widespread saxifrage is unglamorous and overlooked. Rue-leaved saxifrage can be found in natural places like limestone pavements, but you're more likely to see it — if you make the effort to look for it — in high street pavements.
It likes lime - but that can include old mortar, gravelly car parks or even cement. The grid-like pattern above is moss-covered cement between granite blocks at Norwich's Riverside development. Rue-leaved saxifrage — mostly with red leaves here — is abundant.
The UK's other common saxifrage is meadow saxifrage, which grows in well-drained, 'unimproved' (= unfertilised) grassland.
Sloping road verges like this one often suit it. Frettenham, Norfolk, 4 May 2014.
More nature notes . . . . . . . . . . . Photographs on this page by Chris Durdin.