13 May 2017

Fascination of Plants Day 4: Irish Saxifrage

Bruce Langridge

There’s a great story behind how this beautiful rare wildflower found its way to our Conserving Welsh Plants display

In 1962 botanist Dick Roberts found a sprig of a plant on Cwm Idwal.

He sent it to Ness Botanic Garden and they confirmed it as Irish saxifrage Saxifraga rosacea subsp. rosacea. This plant subspecies has never been seen before or since in the whole of Snowdonia.

Luckily, another botanist, Morris Morris, grew cuttings from that sprig & passed these onto the Garden.

We’ve now looked at its DNA and found it to be distinct from the Irish saxifrages that grow wild in Ireland. This could indicate that the Irish saxifrages in Snowdonia had survived through the last Ice Age over 10,000 years ago.

This is one of 7 fascinating plants that will be featured on the Fascination of Plants Day guided walk on 18th May. Led by Bruce Langridge and the Garden’s curator Will Ritchie, the walk will begin at the Western entrance to the Great Glasshouse at 2pm.