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Early Saxifrage, Virginia Saxifrage, Everlasting, Lungwort, Sweet Wilson - Micranthes virginiensis


Family: Saxifragaceae - Saxifrage family Genus Common Name: Saxifrage (Alpine Saxifrage) Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Micranthes virginiensis - Early Saxifrage, Virginia Saxifrage, Everlasting, Lungwort, Sweet Wilson. Based on genetic studies the Saxifraga genus has been split up, with some species remaining in Saxifraga, one being classified in the monotypic genus Cascadia, and 47 species in the new genus Micranthes, although more recent work has some authorities placing a few species in Hydatica rather than Micranthes. There are only eight (or fewer) native North American Saxifraga species remaining; there are over forty in Micranthes. The easiest diagnostic for Micranthes vs Saxifraga is that the former (Micranthes)has only basal leaves (or any cauline leaves may be crowded at the bottom of the stem,) while the latter (Saxifraga) will also have cauline leaves, although they may be very small.

Micranthes virginiensis, formerly classified as Saxifraga virginiensis, is one of the more widely distributed species in the genus, being found in almost all of the eastern United States and Canada. It grows on rock outcrops and moist forest slopes, and, as indicated by the common name, blooms relatively early in spring.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV

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Micranthes virginiensis

Distribution of Micranthes virginiensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 Sep 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Old Stone Fort State Park, Coffee County, TN Date: 2014-April-02Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The inflorescence of Micranthes virginiensis will have up to 30 or more white flowers. The erect stem is hairy, with the hairs becoming more glandular near the top of the stem. It grows on moist rock outcrops like this one, to about 18 inches tall.
Micranthes virginiensis

Site: Old Stone Fort State Park, Coffee County, TN Date: 2014-April-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The flowers of Micranthes virginiensis usually have 5 white, unspotted petals and 5 sepals, although the lower right flower in the foreground in this photo appears to have 6 petals. The flower has 10 stamens.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Micranthes virginiensis

Site: Old Stone Fort State Park, Coffee County, TN Date: 2014-April-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Micranthes virginiensis has only basal leaves; they have flattened petioles. The leaf blades are ovate to elliptic with crenate or serrate margins.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Micranthes virginiensis

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer