It grows in shady, damp places, particularly along the banks of streams and ponds, and on damp rock faces where trickling water runs. It grows up to 3 feet (1 metre) high, and blossoms with small white flowers in the spring. It has fuzzy, toothy-edged leaves 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) long and 1 to 2 inches (2 ½ to 5 cm) wide. The leaves are harvested in the early spring.
Branch Lettuce can be eaten raw, or it can be used as a pot herb. In the American Appalachians, it is often used in a wilted salad with hot bacon grease poured over it (aka Kilt Lettuce.)
There are several varieties, including Saxifraga micranthidifolia, Saxifraga virginiensis, and Saxifraga pensylvanica.
Wash the fuzz off the leaves.
In gathering Branch Lettuce, the same caution that applies to watercress — ensure that the water supply it’s growing in or near is unpolluted by natural or human causes, and is free of liver-fluke, etc.