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H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Saxifraga Purpurascens - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Saxifraga Purpurascens - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Saxifraga Purpurascens Described.

Saxifraga Purpurascens - Saxifraga Purpurascens.
Large-leaved Purple Saxifraga, Megasea section; Nat. Ord. Saxifragaceæ.

A rare plant of great beauty. It is figured here without flowers, as I consider it in finer form then than when in bloom. Fine as its flowers are, much resembling those of S. cordifolia and S. crassifolia (also of the Megasea section); the brightness and colouring of its leaves in autumn are such as to render it distinct from all the other species. I need only ask the reader to note the fine foliage indicated in the cut, and inform him that in the autumn it turns to a glossy vermilion colour, and I think he will admit that it will not come far short in beauty of any flower. The species is a recent introduction from the Himalayas, and in this climate proves all but evergreen (if tinted foliage can be so called) and hardy. The latter quality has been doubted by some, but by others re-asserted. My present specimen was planted in the open garden in the spring of 1880, since which time it has withstood 22deg. of frost.

The flowers are produced on stout stems, 8in. high, arranged in branched heads, of a rose or rosy-purple colour, and bell-shaped. They are, however, soon damaged by unfavourable weather, and there is little about the plant at that period to render it more attractive than its fellows; its finer qualities are developed as more genial weather prevails. When the stout foliage grows glossy, waved, and of a deep clear green colour, the edges of the leaves become lined with red as if hemmed with red silk; the leaves also have the edges irregular in form, the outline broadly oval, 4in. to 6in. long, and they are veined and slightly wrinkled; during the autumn a yellow tint starts from the edge, and in time becomes a vermilion, which is all the more effective from the leaf being of leather-like substance.

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Saxifraga Purpurascens

It enjoys a deep rich loam; and, evidently, to place its roots in contact with pieces of limestone is beneficial. Rare as the plant is, this is all that I do for it, and not only does it remain healthy, but it has increased greatly in size during the last year. I have not as yet tried to propagate it, but so far as I can judge there will be no difficulty in forming young stock by root division. It has hitherto enjoyed a happy immunity from all garden pests, not excepting slugs.

Flowering period, April to June.

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