Saxifrage, the Common, or White, Soaifraga granulala, L. an indigenous plant, growing on dry meadows and pastures, where it flowers in the month of April or May. Its perennial root consists of several small bulbs, which are externally of a reddish colour, and from which arise long hairy foot stalks, that are furnished with downy, kidney-shaped leaves. - The stems are thick, hairy towards the bottom, somewhat branched, and from 12 to 24 inches in height, having a few small leaves, which sit closely to the stalk. The flowers grow in small clusters, and are furnished with five white petals, that inclose ten stamina and two styles ; the seeds are very numerous, small, and black.
According to Linneus, this plant possesses an acrid, pungent taste, which, however, is not confirmed by the accounts of later botanists : on the contrary, the grains, or tubercles forming the root, and also the leaves, are equally devoid of any sensible quality.
The Common White Saxifrage was formerly in great request, for its supposed efficacy in curing nephritic and gravelly complaints : at ent it is totally disregarded; and we should neither have given a coloured engraving, nor described the specific characters of this plant, if it were not uniformly discovered in soils, beneath which a bed of GRavel will be found, at no considerable depth. Hence it affords a certain guide, by which surveyors and lauded proprietors may be directed in digging for that useful fossil, especially in places where other stones cannot be easily procured, for repairing public roads.
Saxi frage, the Common, Great, and Dwarf Burnet. See Anise.