Facts & Folkore:
Saxifraga consists of about 440 species of flowering plants also known as rockfoils. The Latin word saxifraga means literally "stone-breaker" from its historical use for treatment of kidney stones. The reason a meadow plant got to be called stone breaker was because it has small grain-like bulbils at the base of its stem, coupled with kidney shaped leaves. In herbalism there existed for centuries the so-called "doctrine of signatures", whereby the shapes of plant parts were interpreted as hints placed by God to their suggested medicinal uses. This form of magic dictated that this plant was a sure-fire cure for urinary calculi, or kidney stones. Found in arctic-alpine regions, Purple saxifrage (S. oppositifolia) is a popular floral emblem. It is the territorial flower of Nunavut (Canada) and the county flower of County Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
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