This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Saxifraga Crassifolia. Oval-Leaved Saxifrage.
Cal. 5-partitus. Cor. 5-petala. Caps. 2-rostris, 1-locularis, polysperma.
SAXIFRAGA crassifolia, foliis ovalibus retusis obsolete serratis petiolatis, caule nudo, panicula conglomerata. Linn. Sp. Pl ed. 3. p. 573. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 412.
SAXIFRAGA foliis ovalibus crenulatis, caulibus nudis. Gmel. Sib. 4. p. 166. t. 66.
The term grandifolia would have been more applicable to this species of Saxifrage than crassifolia, for it is not so much distinguished for the thickness as the largeness of its leaves; these are almost equal in size to those of our broad-leaved Dock, red on the under and of a fine shining green on their upper surface; they may be ranked indeed among the more handsome kinds of foliage; the flowering stems, according to the richness and moisture of the soil in which they are planted, rise from one to two or even three feet high; at top supporting a large bunch of purple pendulous flowers, which blossom in April and May, and, if the season prove favourable, make a fine appearance. Should cold winds prevail at the time of their flowering, which they are very apt to do, the plants should be covered with a hand-glass; or, if in a pot, it may be removed into the green-house, which they will not disgrace.
Is found spontaneously on the Alps of Siberia, and, according to Mr. Aiton, was introduced in 1765 by Dr. Solander. No plant is more readily increased by parting its roots, which may be done either in spring or autumn.
There is another Saxifrage in our gardens exceedingly like this in appearance, but differing, in producing larger bunches of flowers, and in having larger, rounder, and more heart-shaped leaves; Mr. Aiton regards this as a variety of the crassifolia, we are inclined to consider it as a species under the name of cordifolia. The parts of fructification in the crassifolia are apt to be preternaturally increased.