1 A family of herbs that consists of plants with usually alternate leaves, and regular, tetra- or pentamerous flowers, with free petals and usually 8 or 10 stamens. There are 2 carpels, normally united at the base and free above, seated in a receptacle cup. Saxifraga (saxifrage) contains more than 300 species, mostly small, often mat-forming herbs, mostly of alpine or Arctic distribution, many of which have attractive flowers and are much grown in rock gardens. As usually understood, the family contains some 37 genera, with 475 species, of cosmopolitan but largely temperate distribution.
2 In some modern classifications Saxifragaceae includes the previously separate families Grossulariaceae (1 genus), Parnassiaceae (1 genus, with 45 species), Hydrangeaceae (15 genera, with 200 species), and Escalloniaceae (20 genera, with 150 species).